Toyota Scion IQ gets EV option in the US, with a twist

Even though Toyota may be touting a green car strategy that leans heavily on hybrids, the auto manufacturer hasn’t completely given up on electric cars. 

We recently saw the rather unique Smart INSECT EV concept, and now the Japanese automaker has brought an electric version of its Scion IQ to the United States, though with a twist on how it will be available.

The twist for the 2013 Scion IQ EV is that it will only be available for car-sharing programs in campus and urban environments. 

Why Toyota has chosen not to make it generally available to the public is a bit of a mystery, though the company has said it “believes battery-electric vehicles have the potential to play a role in future mobility strategies.” We’ll have to wait and see if they choose to evolve the car into individual sales at some point down the line.

The 2013 Scion IQ EV, as detailed by Toyota, is powered by what’s described as a “newly developed high-output lithium-ion battery” with a power consumption rate of 104 Wh/km. The 12 kWh battery provides an estimated range of up to 50 miles on a full charge, and can be fully charged in approximately three hours at 240V. The battery can also be recharged via regenerative braking.

The vehicle’s electric drivetrain has a maximum output of 47 kW (63 hp) with a maximum torque of 120 lbs.-ft. It offers three drive modes – D,S,B – that swap between performance and battery energy conservation. In S range, for example, the iQ EV accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds, and from 30 to 50 mph in seven seconds. Its top speed is 78 mph.

The vehicle’s interior features a black and white color scheme with metallic and ice-blue accents and sports a leather wrapped steering wheel and what’s described as a “strongly contoured center console” that “symbolizes the battery mounted below the floor.” 

The vehicle is equipped with a seven-inch screen display that hosts an HDD navigation system and also displays audio information or vehicle information (such as power consumption and energy flow information) in a split screen with the map on the main navigation screen. An available range map displays an estimate of the distance the iQ EV can travel on its current state of charge.

Toyota said 90 electric cars will be available for the car sharing programs, with details on individual iQ EV program partners being made available later. Production began this past September on the iQ EV at Toyota’s Takaoka Plant in Toyota City, and it joins the recently released RAV4 EV as Toyota’s only US electric cars.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling