Hybrid giant to show new EV in Geneva

Toyota is to launch the first prototype of an electric vehicle based on its iQ supermini at the Geneva Motor Show, it said February 14.

The Japanese automaker, known for its dominance of the hybrid world thanks to the success of its Prius, will unveil the all-electric iQ at Geneva before it begins European road tests later this year.

If testing is successful, Toyota says that a market introduction could come as early as next year through a leasing program.

Unlike all of Toyota's green models to date, the electric iQ is powered solely by a lithium-ion battery, which the automaker says can deliver a range of up to 65 miles (105 km), comparable to that of the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

That figure will be essential to the success of an electric iQ, as its tiny size will put it in direct competition with the i-MiEV and the Smart Fortwo Electric, which is currently undergoing trials in Europe and the US.

It isn't clear how the car will compare to the RAV4 EV, though, another project Toyota has been working on which was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2010.

Produced in collaboration with electric supercar maker Tesla, 35 are being manufactured for testing over two years before a full launch, also expected some time in 2012.

The Geneva Motor Show is open to the public March 3-13 in Geneva, Switzerland.

http://www.salon-auto.ch/en/

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