Meet Toyota's Smallest and Cheapest EV, the $16k C+pod

Big things come in small packages, and this is especially true for Toyota’s new ultra-compact EV. For now, it is only available in Japan, where there’s high demand for such small vehicles, but it could help redefine the notion of the perfect urban-environment daily driver all over the world.
Toyota C+pod 8 photos
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
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Toyota designed the C+pod two-seater as an environmentally friendly mobility alternative for short-distance daily use. It will initially be sold only to local government, corporate users, and organizations aiming to replace their current fleets with electric vehicles.

This should set an example to governments and companies across the world, which could easily replace unnecessarily big and inefficient ICE-powered vehicles with such compact and ultra-efficient mobility solutions for short-distance traveling.

The C+pod is just 2.5-meter (8.2-feet) long, 1.2-m (3.9-ft) wide, and 1.5-m (4.9-ft) tall. It also has a minimum turning radius of 3.9 m (8.2 feet), making it extremely maneuverable and easy to park in crowded urban environments.

Toyota C\+ Pod
Photo: Toyota Motors Co.
Power comes from an equally tiny permanent magnet electric motor with a maximum output of 9.2 kW (12 hp) that enables the mini EV to reach a top speed of 60 kph (37 mph), more than enough for the urban jungle.

It uses a 9.06 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers a cruising range of up to 150 km (93 miles) according to the WLTC test cycle and can be charged in approximately five hours using a 200V/16A charger. The battery is integrated into the chassis and mounted under the vehicle’s floor to provide more interior space.

The C+pod’s cabin has a width of 1.1 m (3.6 ft), which can comfortably fit two adults. It features a digital instrument panel positioned above a white center tray that contrasts the blacked-out interior and creates a feeling of size that exceeds its actual dimensions.

Toyota C\+ Pod
Photo: Toyota Motors Co.
The tiny car is also surprisingly well built in terms of safety. It is designed to efficiently disperse and absorb impact energy across multiple components reducing the potential for serious injuries in the event of frontal, side, or rear impacts.

It also comes with a pre-collision warning system as standard that detects other vehicles and pedestrians even at night. This is complemented by Toyota’s Intelligent Clearance Sonar system with Parking Support Brakes that helps avoid collisions with walls and other obstacles during low-speed operation, minimizing damage.

Another surprising feature that you would not expect to find in such a minuscule vehicle is an external power supply system that can provide up to 1,500 W of energy during power outages and natural disasters. Even though it's smaller than most UTV’s, the new Toyota C+pod is a fully road-legal car that can transform traffic in many major cities.

For the moment, it is only available in Japan for a starting price of 1,650,000 yen, which is the equivalent of $16,000. Car sharing programs, low-volume delivery services, and daily commuters all around the world can benefit from the use of such compact EVs that are cheaper, more efficient, environmentally friendly, and easy to use. Here's hoping that the Japanese manufacturer considers making the C+pod available globally.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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