• Jan 10th 2009 at 4:45PM
  • 11
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Toyota FT-EV Concept

Media days for the Detroit Auto Show begin in the morning, but a steady flow of information continues to pour forth from the automakers... some of it through embargo leaks, and some of it by design. Falling into the latter category is word from Toyota that the automaker will show a battery electric concept vehicle dubbed FT-EV.

Based on the iQ urban runabout, the diminutive city car will take to the stage alongside the 2010 Prius and the Lexus HS250h. According to the Japanese automaker, a production urban vehicle based on the concept is in the cards by 2012, and as many as ten different gas-electrics will be available from the company by "early 2010s." In the meantime, Toyota plans to roll out some 500 plug-in Prius hatchbacks worldwide, with 150 of those earmarked for U.S. fleet clients. Lease-only deliveries of these lithium-ion vehicles will begin late this year. Hit the jump for Toyota's official press release.

UPDATE: Video added after the break. Official images added to the gallery.





EV Concept Confirms Battery-Electric Vehicle in 2012;

First of 150 Plug-ins Arrive Late '09 to Lease-Fleet Customers;

As Many As 10 New Gas-Electric Hybrids by early 2010s

Detroit, January 10, 2009 - - Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. today announced that it will display the Toyota FT-EV concept on opening Media Day at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), confirming its plan to launch an urban commuter battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2012. This announcement, coupled with its compressed natural gas powered Camry Hybrid concept display at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, signal Toyota's intention to broaden the scope of its advanced alternative-fuel vehicle development.

"Now, more than ever, while we are so focused on the pressing issues of the moment, we cannot lose sight of our future," said Irv Miller, TMS Group Vice President, Environmental and Public Affairs. "Nowhere is this more important than with our industry's duty and commitment to provide true sustainable mobility with vehicles that significantly reduce fuel consumption, our carbon footprint and overall greenhouse gases."

The FT-EV concept shares its platform with the revolutionary-new iQ urban commuter vehicle. Already a huge hit in Japan, the iQ is lightweight and seats four passengers in comfort and security, while delivering exceptional mileage, sporty performance, unique refinements and a fun, youthful image.

Toyota's FT-EV concept imagines an urban dweller, driving up to 50 miles between home, work and other forms of public transportation, such as high-speed rail. Although, for now, the FT-EV remains a pure concept, it represents a natural pairing of product strategies.

"Last summer's four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline was no anomaly. It was a brief glimpse of our future," said Miller. "We must address the inevitability of peak oil by developing vehicles powered by alternatives to liquid-oil fuel, as well as new concepts, like the iQ, that are lighter in weight and smaller in size. This kind of vehicle, electrified or not, is where our industry must focus its creativity."

Although BEVs and new smaller vehicles like the iQ will be a key component of Toyota's sustainable mobility strategy, the conventional gas-electric hybrid, like the all new third-generation Prius, is considered Toyota's long-term core powertrain technology.

Last year, Toyota announced that it planned to sell one million gas-electric hybrids per year sometime during the early 2010s. To accomplish this, Toyota will launch as many as 10 new hybrid models by the early 2010s, in various global markets. The new third-generation Toyota Prius and all new Lexus HS250h, both debuting in Detroit, are the first two examples of that effort.

Also, last year, Toyota announced that it would roll-out a large number of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) to global lease-fleet customers in 2010. That schedule has been moved up.

Beginning in late 2009, Toyota will start global delivery of 500 Prius PHVs powered by lithium-ion batteries. Of these initial vehicles, 150 will be placed with U.S. lease-fleet customers.

The first-generation lithium-ion batteries powering these PHVs will be built on an assembly line at Toyota's PEVE (Panasonic EV Energy Company, LTD) battery plant, a joint-venture production facility in which Toyota owns 60 percent equity. During its development, the new Prius was designed and engineered to package either the lithium-ion battery pack with plug-in capability, or the nickel-metal hydride battery for the conventional gas-electric system.

The 500 PHVs arriving globally in late 2009 will be used for market and engineering analysis. Lease–fleet customers will monitor the performance and durability of the first-generation lithium-ion battery, while offering real world feedback on how future customers might respond to the plug-in process.

"Future customers will have high expectations for these emerging technologies. This Prius PHV fleet program is a key first step in confirming how and when we might bring large numbers of plug-in hybrids to global markets," said Miller.

"Our business is no longer about simply building and selling cars and trucks. It is about finding solutions to mobility challenges today and being prepared for more daunting challenges in our very near future."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Leave it to Toyota to ince again up-stage the hometown automakers!

      GM will have a hybrid Caddy, Ford will have a 34mpg Fusion, Chrysler will have (?).

      But none of the Detroit "Big 3-soon-to-be-2" will have anything close to an efficient, soon-to-market product that will address the next gas price crisis (later this year..), or the economic slowdown.

      Did you watch Wagoner on NBC the other morning. The moment he said that he never had a single thought about resigning if it would do any good for the government incentive package, I lost all respect for him and GM. This blog shows a new Buick (made for China FIRST), other than some concepts, that show GM is still very narrow-focused on their marketing messages and philosophies that got them to this point in the first place.

      I'm not at all certain about Ford yet, since they never bothered with a bailout, and seem to be getting some of their better European-based products to US consumers a lot quicker.

      As for Chryserl, they will not even be around by the time this year is done. GM said any new merger talks are over. And Ford won;'t even bother. So unless a foreign car company steps in, they will soon be toast.

      Toyota is even going so far as to disconnect electric hand driers in the toilets to conserve on costs that are not necessary. I sincerely doubt GM/FoMoCo/Chrysler are doing anything like that.

      So Detroit will die even faster than we thought. Too bad Toyota will be the company to stick a fork in them.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea because americans are going to be breaking the doors down trying to buy that electric powered breadbox.

        I also didn't see anything in the article about range.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ MoTown, i think Ford should have taken that bailout money and used it to improve its operations and plants. I think they did not do it because the ford family did not want the possibility of Government taking a stake in their company. Also Ford needs to make up its mind on Lincoln/Mercury, either they will have their own cars or simply kills them off.

        @ Happy Penguin

        Dude, Volt will cost like 40K, let me ask you this, would you pay 40K for completely optioned out Prius? At the end of the day that is what Volt is, plug in or not. Also you fail to see that anyone (with money) can own Prius, most people in large cities can not own Volt because they live in apartments and have no where to pug it in, so Manhattan won't have any Volts, many SF areas won't have it.

        Now before you will say that Volts can be charged at these special stations at night, well as of now they are not there.

        Also we can't really judge this who hybrid thing until the new Prius comes out and shows us its mileage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're high. First of all, nobody knows when a new fuel crisis will occur. Second, according to the link below this is a 2012 model. Volt will be out well before that. Third, according to the link below, this is a battery only model with a range of 50 miles. It's one big, massive.... er more like tiny, little, cramped FAIL!
        • 6 Years Ago

        The Volt doesn't have to have any special station. It needs a regular household outlet of either 220 V or 110V variety for charging, for full electric driving. Also, it doesn't have to have an outlet at all because it can be charged on the go with it's gasoline operated generator. Volt has a full electric drivetrain, something which Prius does not have. You raise one important point: The price. No matter, it's impractical for me. But for those who can afford it, and want to score tree hugger points, it's the best solution out there. You won't get stuck without a charge. No doubt the price on the technologies will come down with time. It is not a Prius, thank god. Prius is as hideously ugly as any car I have seen and I wouldn't buy one period.

        But all things considered, all of these so called green cars are impractical for one reason or another and the ordinary gasoline operated car is still our best and cheapest option and will remain so for many years to come.

        Another thing: What YOU fail to see is that Manhattan and San Francisco are not the entire world. I see the Volt as an urban/suburban car where people live less than 20 or so miles from their jobs. That describes a lot of middle America. Yes, there are people here and many of us do live in the 21st century contrary to your stereotypical "fly over zone" attitudes.

        Why don't we see what the Volt will do before condemning it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does Barbie come with it, or do you have to buy her separately?
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks fantastic! ...and better than the Chevy Spark thing.
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