At the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the world got its first look at Toyota's FT-EV, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) concept. You may be asking, why are we showing this advanced-technology vehicle now, just as we are debuting the all-new Prius? Well, the answer at Toyota is simple: Right place, right time, right vehicle.
We believe there is no single solution to our future mobility challenges. What is the right vehicle for Tokyo right now might not be the best product for Kansas City today or Madrid next year. One thing is certain: Even in this difficult time for our industry, we must continue to look to the future. We are maintaining our pace for developing advanced technologies and exploring many technology options for future mobility.
We see the FT-EV concept as a great vehicle for the urban commuter. It is ideal for someone who drives fewer than 50 miles a day, mostly on flat surface streets, and has easy access to recharging options, such as a personal garage or a recharging station on a city street. While this vehicle will be perfect for the urban setting, it might not be the best solution for the rural dweller. This is why we continue to look at various technologies, such as the compressed natural gas Camry Hybrid concept that was shown at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The FT-EV shares the platform of the Toyota iQ, a lightweight, four-passenger microcar that is on sale in Japan and Europe. This version is white with gold and silver design accents and a flared front and rear. With its lithium-ion battery, it will reach a top speed of 70 mph.
Look for more information in the future on the launch of an urban-commuter BEV coming to market in 2012.