Toyota announced it has given up on plans for widespread sales of a new all-electric minicar based on the iQ model, called the eQ.
The company said it has misread the market and the ability of battery technology to meet consumer demands. Toyota added it would only sell about 100 eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release.
Unveiled in 2010, the pure-electric Toyota eQ was supposed to be sold in several thousand units annually. “Two years later, there are many difficulties. 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,” Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Toyota’s decision casts more doubt on the future of the electric car. Toyota will focus more on hybrid technology, expecting to have 21 hybrid gas-electric models like the Prius in its line-up by 2015. Of that number, 14 will be all-new models.
Toyota’s only EV in its lineup will be the RAV4, jointly developed with Tesla Motors, which will launch in the U.S. this month. Toyota expects to sell 2,600 of the electric-powered sports utility vehicle over the next three years.