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Toyota at Tokyo: micro e-car on display

Aesthetically challenged

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Leccy Tech Competing with such leccy micro-cars like Peugeot’s BB1 and Renault's Twizy in the 'would you actually buy anything that looks like that?' stakes is Toyota's latest thinking on future e-cars for the city, the FT-EV II.

The EV II is an evolution of the EV I that Toyota showed at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year rather than an all new concept. If you ask us, it's gotten uglier in the intervening months.

Toyota FT-EV II

Toyota's FT-EV II: not better looking than its predecessor

Still, the Future Toyota Electric Vehicle II - to give it its full name - is nothing if not petite. In fact, it's just a shade smaller than the already diminutive Toyota iQ micro-car from which it copies its 3+1 seating arrangement with with fourth seat being suitable for small children or luggage.

It's also smaller than the original EV I concept, which used the iQ's chassis.

Power comes from a lithium-ion battery that feeds the motor, which drives the front wheels. Toyota said a full charge will be good for around 90km (56 miles) of travel and that the EVII has a top speed of 100kph (62mph).

No further technical details were made public, though Toyota did say that the range was dependent on improvements in li-ion battery tech. So presumably the EV II's battery pack can't currently deliver that sort of performance.

Toyota FT-EV II

Sliding doors

Design features new to the EV II include transparent rear light clusters to give the maximum degree of all-round visibility; a steering yoke that does away with the need for floor pedals, so creating as much interior space as possible; and electric sliding doors so it can be parked in really right spaces - though you might still not be able to get out of the thing.

Toyota has promised that it will launch a leccy city car in the US sometime in 2012. Fingers crossed the styling gets an overhaul between now and then. ®

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