Mar 7, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Europe may get a production plug-in hybrid before the U.S. Multiple reports from the Geneva Auto Show quote Toyota's senior vice president Andrea Formica saying it will sell its IQ Concept car before the end of this year, and expects to build 100,000 in 2009, apparently for sale only, or first, in Europe. (Two stories below.) At the same time, the Wall Street Journal quotes President Katsuaki Watanab saying the company will sell a plug-in hybrid with a lithium-ion battery by 2010 at the latest.
Toyota shows production-ready iQ mini prototype at Geneva
6th March 2008
A finished prototype of Toyota's iQ concept car first glimpsed at Frankfurt last autumn was unveiled at Geneva this week, and production models be on sale before the end of the year, according to Toyota Motor Europe senior vice-president Andrea Formica, who described it as "the world's smallest four-seater passenger car." Its seating configuration takes three adults plus a child in a length of less than three metres.
The iQ is expected to meet Euro NCAP's 5-star rating, while CO2 emissions from its 500cc plug-in hybrid powetrain are 99g per km. Toyota will build the iQ in Japan, and expects to build 100,000 units in 2009, its first full year of production.
Toyota is also reported to be working on another concept, the 1/X, which combines plug-in hybrid and flex-fuel technologies, which weighs 420kg, a third of the Prius' weight, but offers the same interior space, according to Mr. Formica, while achieving up to 140 mpg.
Small iQ is proof of intelligent design for Toyota
March 4, 2008
GENEVA (AFP) -- Japanese carmaker Toyota on Tuesday unveiled its new compact "iQ" passenger car to a packed crowd at the Geneva Auto Show in a bid to appeal to environmentally-aware urban customers.
The iQ is "the world's smallest four-seater passenger car," Toyota Europe senior vice-president Andrea Formica told journalists.
It can seat three adults and one child, and Toyota hopes its small size will make it attractive to urban drivers.
The iQ will also have a CO2 emissions target of 99 grams per kilometre and will thus play a key role in cutting Toyota's fleet average emissions.
"We view this car as a major milestone in Toyota's vehicle development," Formica said.
The iQ "will have a big impact on the market yet a small impact on the environment, ... (and) will be on the roads of Paris, Rome, Berlin, Madrid by the end of the year," Formica added.
In keeping with the dominant theme at this year's show, Toyota also stressed its work in fuel hybrid technologies, energy efficiency and other environmental measures.
The 1/X model, also on display here, is an example of "plug-in" electricity technology and can cover 100 kilometres (62 miles) on just over two litres of fuel, Toyota said.
Toyota Expects Rise in U.S. Sales
By CHRISTOPH RAUWALD -Yoshio Takahashi contributed to this article.
March 4, 2008 9:28 a.m.
Write to Christoph Rauwald at christoph.rauwald@...
GENEVA -- Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe said the company has made "significant progress" in the past 12 months on developing a prototype for a new low-cost car and plans to make a decision by the end of 2008 on whether it will start a series production. Additionally, he said Toyota plans to launch a plug-in hybrid model using a lithium-ion battery by 2010 at the latest. "I've told the engineers to accelerate this process [of developing lithium-ion technology] as much as possible," Mr. Watanabe said, noting that "the quality for mass production has to be ensured. This is key." Lithium-ion batteries are seen as a crucial technology for future hybrid cars and purely electric vehicles.
Asked whether he sees General Motors Corp. or Volkswagen AG as the biggest rival in terms of being the world's best-selling automaker in the future, Watanabe said Toyota aims to be "number one in quality." He said Toyota "isn't in the position to make any comments on other automakers."
"I like to view other carmakers as good competitors, not as rivals," he said.