Toyota Auto Body Debuts Ultra-small EV

Jul 3, 2012
Motohiko Hamada, Nikkei Automotive Technology

Toyota Auto Body Co Ltd released the "Coms" ultra-small single-seater electric vehicle (EV) July 2, 2012.

The wheelbase of the vehicle is 1,530mm. The front and rear treads are 930mm and 920mm, respectively. The total length, total width and total height are 2,395-2,475mm, 1,095-1,105mm and 1,495-1,505mm. Its weight is 400-420kg. It is a rear-wheel-drive car having a differential gear mechanism. It carrying capacity is 30kg, and its minimum turning radius is 3.2m.

The Coms is manufactured at Toyota Auto Body's Kariya Plant. It does not require an automobile safety inspection, certification of parking space, weight tax or automobile acquisition tax. It is a first-class motorized four-wheeled vehicle under Japan's Road Traffic Law, and a normal driver's license is required to drive the vehicle. But it is not necessary to wear a helmet.

The Coms comes in two models. One is the "P·Com," which is expected to be used as a private car, and the other is the "B·Com," which is suited for commercial use. The B·Com comes in three types, "Delivery," "Deck" and "Basic," which have different luggage rooms. The P·Com and the Delivery of the B·Com have luggage capacities of about 150L and 350L, respectively.

The P·Com and the Delivery, Deck and Basic of the B·Com are priced at ¥798,000 (approx US$10,044), 773,000, 731,000 and 668,000. In consideration of a grant of up to ¥70,000 per vehicle from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the minimum purchase price is ¥598,000. For receiving a grant, it is necessary to own the vehicle for four years.

The rated output of the motor is 0.59W to comply with a law. Its maximum output and maximum torque are 5kW and 250N·m, respectively. The maximum speed of the EV is 60km/h (approx 37mph). When driven in a way similar to the JC08 test mode, it can travel about 50km per charge.

The electricity cost of the vehicle is about ¥120 (approx US$1.5) per charge with an electricity rate of ¥23/kWh. It can be fully charged in about six hours by using household power outlet (100V).

The chassis of the EV uses a steel ladder frame. The lower part of the frame has a U-shaped cross section, and its cross member has a closed cross section. The vehicle comes with a four-wheel independent suspension system (McPherson strut in the front part and torsion beam in the rear part).

Vibrations caused by rugged roads were reduced by extending the stroke on the rear bound side. Also, the running stability of the EV was improved by storing all the batteries under the floor to lower the center of gravity.

Toyota Auto Body ensured the safety of passengers and the protection capability of the battery pack by evaluating the vehicle with its own method including a crash test though there is no law that requires such an evaluation. As for the seatbelt of the vehicle, the company tested the strength of the belt anchor to comply with a law in Europe. To ensure the visibility of the vehicle, not only the head lamps, which are required to be always on by a law, but the side marker lamps and tail lamps are always on.