Reuters news service is reporting that Toyota Motors has decided to forgo mass production of its eQ, a mini-electric car based on its iQ model. According to the article, “Toyota Motor Corp has scrapped plans for widespread sales of a new all-electric minicar, saying it had misread the market and the ability of still-emerging battery technology to meet consumer demands.”
Instead, the automaker has doubled down on hybrid technology. The Wall Street Journal reported that Toyota “plans to roll out 21 new or redesigned gasoline-electric powered vehicles by the end of 2015 and playing down the near-term outlook for other alternative-fuel technologies such as all-electric vehicles.” However, Toyota is finding other ways to invest in electric vehicles. The Journal article mentioned that the electrified Rav4, a joint venture with Tesla Motors, will go on sale this week in the US, actually only 57 dealerships in California.
As mentioned in the Reuters article, Toyota was planning “to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year when it unveiled the eQ as an pure-electric variant of its iQ minicar in 2010.” Cost of the vehicle, range issues with batteries, charge times, and the all-encompassing inability to meet society’s needs, were among the reasons given for Toyota’s decision. Of the 21 hybrid models announced, 14 will be new vehicles, further solidifying Toyota’s position in hybrid drivetrains.
Slow sales of the plug-in version of the Prius were also blamed in the Reuters article for scaling back the eQ.