Despite offering very few “pure” EVs, Toyota are world leaders in hybrid and battery technology. As such, it was only a matter of time before they entered the EV market in a big way, and they’re doing that now with this Ranz EV, which is set to launch a new budget brand of electric cars in Asia.
Based on the previous Toyota Corolla EX model, the Ranz is meant to be part of a sub-brand of the FAW-Toyota joint venture (similar to the Scion brand of Toyota-Subaru joint ventures here in the US) that’s focused on making cheap electric cars. Power is expected to come from a 95 hp electric motor that’s good for a Chinese government-approved 74 mph (120 km/h) top speed. Range wasn’t mentioned at the show, but I’d expect something in the 100 km range from a budget model like this- more or less on par with Mitsubishi’s iMiEV.
The first examples of Toyota’s new Ranz branded electric cars is expected to go on sale in Shanghai this April- a region that’s pushing hard for electric and hybrid cars in a bid to curb its horrible pollution problems. Pricing is expected to be somewhere in the 90,800 – 113,800 yuan range (about $18,000 on the high side, which is way low for the Chinese market). No word, yet, on whether the cars will be available for the general public or if they’ll be reserved for a select group of “test case” drivers.
In other words: some animals are more equal than others.