By on October 17, 2019


If that compact sedan or crossover has become too much to handle, and you live in Japan, Toyota has just the thing for you. Due out in 2020, Toyota’s aptly-named Ultra-compact BEV is a, um, ultra-compact battery electric vehicle that’s clean, green, and in no way mean.

To butcher a tagline from Dodge… if you can handle a top speed of 60 km/h (37.3 mph), you could be Toyota material.

The automaker’s new home-market offering dispenses with needless frills like a backseat or size, preferring instead to make the smallest impact on the environment and traffic congestion as possible. Its reveal comes in advance of a public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.

“We want to create a mobility solution that can support Japan’s ageing society and provide freedom of movement to people at all stages of life,” said the model’s development head, Akihiro Yanaka. “With the Ultra-compact BEV, we are proud to offer customers a vehicle that not only allows for greater autonomy, but also requires less space, creates less noise and limits environmental impact.”


Offering just enough car and capability to perform a number of mundane tasks, Toyota sees the tiny two-seater’s buyers as a combination of elderly residents (which Japan has in spades), newly-licensed drivers, and business types who make a lot of local trips. You probably won’t be driving out of the city in this thing. Besides its limited top speed, the Ultra-compact BEV offers a range of just 100 km (62 miles), which, to its credit, is a greater distance offered by Smart’s Fortwo Electric Drive EQ Whatever. You can be sure that parking and maneuvering in tight spaces will be a breeze ⁠—assuming your eyesight is up to the task.

Toyota’s tiny EV is just one of the electric mobility solutions the automaker has planned for the country, with others coming in even smaller. Batteries will be reused, the company claims, and business and government partners are already being wooed to take on a fleet of said vehicles. Pricing and power specs remain a mystery ⁠— not that you’ll need to know.

[Images: Toyota]

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18 Comments on “Old? Don’t Go Far? Toyota Has Your Ride...”

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    62 mile range 37.3 mph top speed
    – coming to a golf course near you
    – Return of the Mitsubishi iMEV
    – Featured at 2009 auto shows
    – Toyota TRD & Lexus Fseries versions coming soon.

    Toyota fans it’s time to scream reliability as loud as you can. I mean prisoner getting his first anal loud.

  • avatar

    If the day comes I’m old and stuck driving this, take me out like Edward G. Robinson in “Soylent Green.”

    • 0 avatar

      If you are lucky eventually you will be old too. And then you will find that being old is not too bad. Life is still fun even when you are in your mid seventies. You have more time for fun things than you had while you were working. While you think you will be ready to be processed into someone’s sandwich, you will change your mind when the time comes.

  • avatar

    The sad thing about the Japanese is that most of them seem to believe in AGW. The interesting thing about them is that they actually conduct themselves as if they believe in AGW. They aren’t replacing their population with people from countries with no carbon footprints. They aren’t taking helicopters from their mega-yachts to their Gulstreams to fly off and tell someone to forfeit their middle class lifestyle in order to save the planet. They’re just opting out of life. I wish our environmentalists would shut up and follow their lead.

  • avatar

    This is all any electric car really needs to be, and it’s the perfect application…but not just for the elderly. Pricing? Irrelevant. Let’s say you could‘subscribe’ to this through Amazon Prime, Costco, or even at a massive discount through your employer. Basically a Cars2Go type of affair. If the price was around $30-50/month to be able to use this for my short 1-mile commute to work (especially in cold rainy weather) Id consider it. In winter, the length of my drive barely gets my engine up to temperature, which can’t be great on a Hemi….and when it’s raining and the roads in my neighborhood are covered in a slurry of ground up leaves/pine needles id MUCH rather that crap stayed off my freshly washed Challenger.

  • avatar

    I’m amazed something like this hasn’t taken off over here. Tons of elderly folks are riding their power scooters on sidewalks and on the sides of roads everywhere, wouldn’t it make sense to give them a bit more protection? Sure they won’t be able to ride it inside of buildings but there’s solutions for that

  • avatar

    After watching yet another idiot in a new Mercedes E-class nearly cause a head-on collision by making an illegal pass at 50+ mph on my residential street this morning, I’m ready for all cars to be like this.

  • avatar

    I want this, sticky tires, and a go-kart track. Well…two of them. One charging while hooning in the other.

  • avatar

    ” if you can handle a top speed of 60 km/h (37.3 mph), you could be Toyota material.”

    Ugh. Great. As if getting stuck behind octogenarians in kei cars isn’t bad enough.

  • avatar

    Pretty slow, even for urban use in Japan. You could never get on an expressway with one. Otherwise it looks like an all-electric version of a Smart, although to be fair there’s only so much you can do with a minimum footprint two-seater.

  • avatar

    “… if you can handle a top speed of 60 km/h (37.3 mph), you could be Toyota material.”

    I may be a bit dim but I don’t get the joke. Isn’t this the Toyota mantra now? If it isn’t someone should tell 90% of Toyota owners around here. I think I encountered some true Toyota material yesterday though – it was a Camry doing 60km/h in the left lane on a 100km/h highway. But who am I kidding. This isn’t unusual.

  • avatar

    Top speed of 37 MPH? Perfect replacement for the left lane Prius.

  • avatar

    I’m old, and I don’t go far that often, but I’m not getting in that thing. I’ll keep driving my 2005 LeSabre with 86k instead. I enjoy intimidating secretaries in their Corollas.

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