Toyota Scraps Electric Vehicle Plans, Will Focus on Hybrids

By Stephanie Mlot

Toyota’s plans to release an all-electric minicar have been trashed, according to Reuters, which reported that the carmaker “misread the market” and overestimated the still-emerging battery technology.

The Japanese company originally announced plans in 2010 to roll out several thousand battery-powered eQ vehicles per year, but instead will provide an extremely limited release of 100 vehicles in the U.S. and Japan.

Dropping the new, pure-electric variant of Toyota’s iQ minicar – expected to retail at $45,000, according to the Associated Press – was the company’s way of casting doubt on an alternative to the combustion engine which, according to Reuters, has been applauded for its oil-saving potential and criticized for its heavy reliance on government subsidies.

“The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge,” Toyota’s vice chairman and vehicle development engineer Takeshi Uchiyamada told Reuters.

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