Hybrid tech is a huge priority for Prius-maker Toyota, but the firm hasn't forgotten about pure electric vehicles altogether -- quite the opposite, in fact. It's used the Geneva Motor Show as the platform for the European premiere of its snazzily named Toyota EV prototype.
The EV prototype is based on the iQ petrol car. The 1.33-litre petrol motor has been ripped out, however, in favour of an all-electric propulsion system consisting of a 47kW motor and a 270V, 11kWh lithium-ion battery pack that occupies the space usually taken up by the iQ's flat fuel tank.
If that 11kWh sounds a little on the small side, that's because it is -- it's less than half the capacity afforded to the admittedly larger Nissan Leaf. That said, it's enough to give the EV prototype (can somebody give it a proper name already?) a ruising range of 65 miles from a full charge.
The car's performance is pretty brisk. Okay, we're stretching the truth a little, but it'll get from a standstill to 62mph eventually in 14 seconds and helps the car reach a top speed of 78mph, so at least it'll keep up with the flow of traffic -- if that traffic's stuck behind a tractor moving reasonably slowly.
Charge times for the Toyota EV prototype are pretty rapid as a result of its low-capacity battery. It can be recharged in as little as 4 hours from a 200V power supply -- as opposed to the 7 hours required by the Nissan Leaf -- and can be topped up to 80 per cent of its capacity in 15 minutes if using a quick-charge station.
Toyota will begin limited trials of the EV prototype in Europe, the US and Japan later in 2011.