Toyota Auto Body from Japan have released a small single-seater electric powered vehicle for city drivers called the COMS. We’ve already seen a small NEV from Renault, the Twizy, and it seems that other motor manufacturers see potential in this market segment.
Japanese auto makers have always been at the forefront of developing small and economical cars due to their government's tax and insurance regulations. This is evident in the "Kei car" segment for the Japanese domestic market. Short on parking space, Japanese manufacturers have developed lots of these popular small cars over the past 40 years or so.
For many years Toyota has been making small single-seat vehicles for mobility and industrial use through its Toyota Auto Body Co division. Now it's developed the 2012 Coms for the wider consumer market.
The Coms is a doorless single-seat electric vehicle with a top speed of 60kph (37mph) and a range of 31 miles. This might not seem a lot but will be adequate for the short journeys within their neighborhoods that city dwellers undertake. And with a recharge time of 2 hours, you won't be waiting around all day before you can make it home.
It's not clear if the Coms will make it to the US market and will be classed as an NEV, competing with other low speed vehicles such as the Gem, and street legal golf carts from E-Z-Go and Club Car. As the worlds largest auto maker Toyota bring a long history of reliability, engineering and safety to the table.
The only downside with this NEV is that it only seats one person, which is fine for city singletons, but this limitation will not appeal to families and couples. The Toyota Coms will cost about 798,000 Yen, or about US$10,000, which is at the top-end of street legal golf cart pricing.
We like the funky car-like styling and it might appeal to those who need an electric vehicle that doesn't look like a golf cart.