Toyota Launching Cheap Electric Vehicle Sub-Brand in China

Remember when Toyota said it won’t further invest in pure electric vehicles because hydrogen power is the key of future transportation? It looks like that doesn’t apply in China, because the Japanese automaker is launching a new sub brand of EVs there.
Toyota Chinese EV sub brand Leahead 1 photo
The new EV lineup will be reunited under the Leahead name (Lingzhi in Chinese) which is said to be derived from “Leap Ahead” and come with a strange badge that somehow reminds us of a Transformers symbol. Kind of disturbing to know Toyota now considers cheap electric cars a profitable leap forward for the future.

According to a CarNewsChina report, Leahead is said to have been previewed at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show through the yellow concept car you see in the picture above which had no name back then.

Now, the word is the new brand will come out next year and it’s expected to boast a 10-model lineup comprising cheap EVs and possibly a couple hybrids. The first model in the lineup is expected to make its debut at the 2015 Guangzhou Auto Show in November and could be wearing the same platform as the Toyota Yaris L manufactured by Guangzhou-Toyota.

Toyota and its love for EVs

Although Toyota’s best known for making the hybrid car happen (thing it’s now trying with the fuel cell technology too), the company did actually experimented with some pure electric vehicles too. The RAV4 EV might be the most famous one as well as the Scion iQ EV.

Still, the production costs, recharging times and limited performances rendered these two highly unpopular, making the company eventually take them off the production line and move over to hydrogen fueled powertrains and further calibrating its hybrid setups.

Oh but wait, there’s still another electric vehicle on the list Toyota has high hopes to make a hit, at least in the city. We're talking about the i-Road, a leaning all-electric three-wheeler with a seating for two which is aimed to complete the public transportation and get rented by people to go places around town.
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