What is it?
Toyota’s view of our motoring future is that we’ll do most of our short-haul driving in small battery cars — which is why they’ve built an electric version of the petrol-powered Toyota iQ.
Called FT-EV III, the model is presented as the third prong of the Toyota’s grand Hybrid Synergy Drive plan, the others being plug-in hybrid EV and fuel cell hybrid EV.
Though the iQ is tiny and its petrol-powered version is a tour-de-force of packaging, Toyota is keen to demonstrate that an all-electric version is just as sensible: the lithium-ion 11.6 kWh battery (which weighs 166kg) fits neatly beneath the floor, and the transaxle, inverter and 63bhp motor sit happily in the nose in place of the regular petrol engine, with the charging sockets located under a Leaf-style nose flap.
What’s it like?
Within a few yards, the logic of the electric iQ becomes clear. Its tiny dimensions and turning circle suit congested areas extremely well, as do its near-silence and plentiful torque, easily deployed through an intuitive accelerator.
If anything, the electric iQ rides slightly better than the petrol alternative because major masses are lower and more centralised, but there’s hardly anything in it.
The motor develops 120lb ft, drives the front wheels through a transaxle and offers a range of just over 50 miles. A 0-62mph sprint occupies 14.3 seconds, and the car will reach 78mph flat-out, though mostly it’ll be driven more slowly.
Recharging takes three to four hours via a normal household socket. The interior is mostly familiar, though instrumentation now includes range and available power displays instead of a tacho, and drive is selected via a simplified ‘PRND’ quadrant.
Should I buy one?
Like the petrol-powered offshoot, the Toyota FT-EV III just makes sense. Toyota has fulfilled the iQ’s potential as a short-range battery-powered city car, but is still deciding whether it will go on sale and probably won’t bring it to UK.
Toyota FT-EV III
Price: £15k (est); Top speed: 77mph; 0-62mph: 14.3secs; Economy: n/a; Co2: nil, from tailpipe; Kerb weight: 1070kg; Engine type: electric motor; Power: 63bhp; Torque: 120lb ft; EV range: about 50 miles; Gearbox: single-speed transaxle