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Killing the Electric Car, Softly at Toyota

Toyota scales back production plans of its eQ electric car, focusing its efforts on widening its range of hybrid cars.

Published: 25-Sep-2012

Drawing a dramatic line in the sand for a global auto industry that has continued to invest heavily in all-electric vehicles, a top Toyota executive today simply said what a lot of people are thinking: EVs don’t make business or financial sense at this point.

And then Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, also head of Toyota R&D, announced in Japan that the company was backing up its dramatic conclusion with equally decisive action: Toyota killed plans for a volume launch of its second all-electric car, the eQ, a version of the iQ minicar, and said that it hopes for only 2,600 sales worldwide of its other EV, a RAV4 version, over the next three years.

Now, Toyota plans to sell only about 100 battery-powered eQs in a very limited release in the U.S. and Japan. In 2010, in unveiling eQ and plans for it, the company said it wanted to sell several thousand of the nameplate each year.

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