Toyota Motor Corp. has cancelled plans to sell its new all-electric minicar, the eQ, in larger number, attributing its decision to its failure to properly read the market as well as the ability of the current battery technology to meet consumer demands. According to Toyota, it would only sell around 100 eQ electric vehicles in Japan and in the U.S. in an extremely limited release.
Prior to its recent announcement, Japan had planned to sell several thousand eQs every year. The Japanese carmaker unveiled the eQ as a pure-electric variant of its iQ minicar in 2010. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development, said that two years after the eQ was unveiled in 2010, there are now many difficulties.
With no plans for building a second electric vehicle, Toyota hurls more doubt on its electric vehicle that has received praised for its oil-saving potential but has received criticisms for its dependence on government subsidies in key markets like the US. Uchiyamada remarked that the current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, like the distance it could travel, its costs and its charging time.
Uchiyama was responsible for the development of the Prius hybrid in the 1990s. Toyota said it is now focusing on hybrid technology, an area where the carmaker is considered as leader. Toyota expects to have 21 hybrid gas-electric models like the Prius in its line-up by 2015. Of the 21 new hybrid models, 14 hybrids will be all-new.