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  4. Battery electric

Battery-Electric Vehicles

Learn more about our 100% electric vehicles

We may be famous for our hybrid electric technology, but we know that petrol-electric hybrids are not the only solution to delivering better, more energy-efficient transport. We’ve also been developing battery electric vehicle technology as part of our future mobility roadmap. We believe battery electric vehicles can improve mobility and reduce pollution in urban areas. To maximise their potential, we need to encourage large numbers of people to adopt them, so we will be launching more than 10 battery electric vehicle models by the early 2020's. Our first target market will be China, after which we expect to roll them out to customers in Japan, India, the United States and Europe.

Battery electric vehicles are best suited to short, low-speed journeys in towns and cities. Compact, zero-emissions vehicles powered by batteries that are quick to recharge can improve air quality and ease traffic congestion. They are quiet, easy to drive and have low running costs, making them perfect for commuting journeys or as delivery vehicles.

Real world urban testing for battery electric vehicles

Promoting multi-modal transport in cities

The aim of Cité Lib by Ha:mo was to create a better co-ordinated, affordable and accessible transport network, including public access to an electric vehicle fleet. There were 35 Toyota i-ROAD and 35 COMS – available for public hire at 27 parking and charging locations across the city, the majority of them at key transport interchanges.

They could be used for many different types of journeys: short, direct A-to-B trips, for shopping, reaching a business appointment or visiting friends. They were also ideal for the first or last part of a journey, taking people to or from a train station, tram or bus stop.

People were able to check availability, plan their route, book and pay for their vehicle using dedicated apps on their smartphone or computer. They could simply pick up a vehicle at one station and leave it at another close to their destination.

What is Ha:mo?

Ha:mo – “harmonious mobility” – is Toyota’s next-generation network for addressing local transport needs by designing the best possible connections between private transport and public transport systems, using battery electric vehicles. It has the potential to reduce congestion in urban areas, improve air quality through reduced emissions and re-energise communities by making journeys more efficient and easier to accomplish.

Different aspects of the system are being tested in real-world locations. Toyota City is the centre for testing new services and features, while in Tokyo Ha:mo is being used to provide first-mile/last-mile bridge to connect people with the city’s transport systems. In Okinawa the focus is on how the system can be adapted in a resort town, meeting leisure needs like sightseeing. A scheme is also underway in Thailand where Ha:mo is being used to provide a car-sharing service using battery electric vehicles on the campus of Chulalongkorn University.

Like i-ROAD, COMS is a compact electric vehicle designed for driving around town. It is more conventional in design, with a single seat and four wheels, and more like a regular car to drive. It was available to customers in the Cité Lib by Ha:mo project as an alternative to i-ROAD and comes with a small trunk that can carry shopping or overnight bags.The COMS is manufactured by Toyota Auto Body and uses a traditional lead-acid type of battery.

The Toyota i-ROAD is designed with urban driving in mind. It is only slightly wider than a motor scooter, but it has a roof and two doors and is more stable, with two wheels at the front and one at the rear. It uses our new Active Lean technology, leaning as you turn into a bend, much like a downhill skier makes turns.

All you have to do is turn the steering wheel as in a normal car. It is powered by a rechargeable compact lithium-ion battery, which produces no emissions. There is an extra seat behind the driver, adding to the convenience of a vehicle that is easy, quiet and fun to drive.

i-ROAD Design

The challenge for i-ROAD Chief Engineer Akihiro Yanaka was to create a vehicle that is slim, compact and highly manoeuvrable. He found inspiration in one of his favourite hobbies, skiing.

He said: “The driver and the vehicle need to move in synchronisation, so I thought about the most natural way of doing this and came up with skiing. I found a lot of inspiration from skiing in the way the i-ROAD driver feels in control while having an enjoyable sensation of being at one with the vehicle. I believe it creates a new feeling in everyday movement."