Toyota launches an ultra-compact electric car

Toyota C+pod
Toyota C+pod

The Toyota C+pod is a small electric car with two seats that will be available to individual customers by 2022. Initially, it will be used mostly by car-sharing services.


Let’s see the details.


Toyota City, Japan, December 25, 2020―Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today a limited launch of the “C+pod” ultra-compact battery electric vehicle (BEV), from December 25, to corporate users, local governments and other organizations that have been exploring new options to drive the popularization of BEVs. Toyota plans to further promote the establishment of systems for popularizing BEVs, including development of new business models, and to conduct a full-scale launch including to individual customers by 2022. Today’s launch will also demonstrate new services that can only be provided by BEVs.

The new C+pod is an environmentally-friendly two-seater BEV designed as a mobility option that improves per-person energy efficiency. In addition to short-distance daily use, the C+pod is also aimed at corporate users visiting customers on a regular basis, and at users in urban or mountainous communities needing safe, unrestricted, and environmentally-friendly transportation options.

To drive further popularization of BEVs, Toyota is expanding its product lineup and forming open collaborations as it works to build new business models. In Japan, it is focusing initially on the C+pod, Walking Area BEVs*1, and Toyota i-Road*2, with more than 200 corporate and local government partners*3 currently involved in exploring new transportation models.

As one of these collaborative efforts, today’s launch of the C+pod will also demonstrate new services specific to BEVs. One of those services is Toyota Green Charge, a joint project developed with Chubu Electric Power Miraiz Co., Inc. to offer a single point of contact for corporations seeking support when constructing optimal charging facilities or developing electricity plans for BEVs, such as CO2-free power. The service will be jointly implemented in collaboration with Chubu Electric Power Miraiz, Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., and TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc. Other services in planning include the Electric-vehicle sharing service that combines tourist information with the “Toyota Share*4” car-sharing service to promote sightseeing and excursions.


Toyota C+pod interior

Toyota C+pod interior



  • Length: 2.490 mm
  • Wheelbase: 1.780 mm
  • Width: 1.290 mm
  • Height: 1.550 mm
  • Weight: 690 kg (G) and 670 kg (X)
  • Seats: 2
  • Battery: 9,06 kWh (177,6 V and 51 Ah)
  • Range: 150 km (WLTC)
  • Motor (rear-wheel drive): 2,6 kW (9,2 kW maximum) and 56 N.m of torque
  • Maximum speed: 60 km/h
  • Minimum turning radius: 3,9 m
  • Tire size: 155/70R13 75S



  • X trim-level: 1.650.000 JPY (12.978 euros)
  • G trim-level: 1.716.000 JPY (13.498 euros)


The Toyota C+pod gets a 9 kWh battery made with 48 prismatic 51 Ah battery cells from Panasonic and the realistic range should be around 100 km (62 miles).

The Pre-collision Safety System and the Panasonic battery are nice features, but the price, range and maximum speed are very disappointing. This small electric car from Toyota is the definition of too little, too late and has no chances against a SGMW Baojun E300. By 2022, some Chinese automakers will already be selling much more compelling small electric cars in Europe and North America.


Sadly, Toyota made clear multiple times that doesn’t want its all-electric cars to compete with its hybrids. Therefore, we can only expect Toyota to produce extremely underwhelming electric cars in the near future.

I remember one occasion when a Toyota’s executive claimed that producing electric cars was extremely easy and anyone could do it, Toyota was proud to be able to produce reliable hybrid cars that are also very complex and hard to make. That’s its competitive advantage and the main reason for Toyota to fear the arrival of electric cars, it’ll bring a lot more competition, not only from legacy automakers but also startups.

On the opposite side, the Chinese automakers see electric cars as an unique opportunity to grow and compete with already established automakers.



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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1 year ago

Even if this car was released ten years ago it wouldn’t have sold in any significant numbers. This car is so underwhelming… Even the Renault twizy released 8 years ago triumphs this car.

Twice the top speed, twice the battery size, 2/3 of the price (8keur) and it would have sold okay. If they also would have made a larger version with four doors and a foldable backseat for 2 keur more (10keur) it would have been a hit!

1 year ago

They will launch it in 2022-12-31. As article mentions, it will be only leased and that too in limited quantity like 1.000 / year. A company which openly talks against BEVs, why are they launching an electric car in the 1st place.

Why spending 12.978 euros for this car when you can get a bigger, longer range Wuling MiniEV for less than 4.000 euros.
They have intentionally designed it to be smaller than Smart For-2 with 60 km/h, 150 km range just to make people believe that BEVs are not ready for mainstream. They will have a rude awakening in 2021 when all growth in ICE cars stop in China and BEVs take off like a rocket.

1 year ago
Reply to  Famlin

Perfect article. Comment hint reality. I would like to see western automotive lobbyist and their political appendix, how they ask for subsidies to get out from big trouble. And bill will be paid by middle class via taxis. Paradoxically it will support growing middle class in China.

1 year ago
Reply to  IKBASK

Chinese cars in Europe (at least until now), have not been that so much competitive.

Exception for now is MG ZS EV, which is slightly more competitive than similar propositions….

I really hop Chinese do a big splash in 2021 & 2022, but until now all is quiet in Europe

1 year ago

@ Pedro
Toyota claims their Gen-2 Mirai has 1,24 KWh battery that weighs 44,6 kg, is it correct or its seems like too much. Please check and respond to Toyota website asking them to correct the info. I already sent them an email.

Again they are mocking at the BEVs claiming that this does not need to be plugged in.
Toyota priced Mirai at $49.500 in USA for base trim. This price also includes $15.000 in hydrogen fuel which reduces the actual car price to just $35.000.
1 good thing is they reduced the price by $7.500 compared to the outgoing model and also increased the range to estimated 402 miles / 645 km.

But hydrogen is available only in California state and that too only in Los Angeles city. Lets see how many Mirais they sell.

1 year ago
Reply to  Famlin

Toyota from my point of view makes the same mistake with Gen2 in its “short” range. Gen1 with 500 km NEDC was outperfored by Tesla (BEV) just tyear after Gen1 release. I believe that this will happen again. But more important is that FCEV usability depends on the range much more than BEV. The reason is lack of H2 stations worldwide and so they should aim to at least 800 km EPA to compensate this issue. The question is if it is technologicaly possible.

1 year ago
Reply to  Pajda

What they should do is build hydrogen stations nationwide like Tesla built charging stations.
But Toyota objective is only to sell FCEVs in limited # and use it to discourage people from buying BEVs and instead keep selling hybrid vehicles forever.
In a recent speech, Akio Toyoda blasted BEVs and said that they are overhyped when more than 300.000 PEVs / month were sold worldwide in the last 3 months and will soon hit 400.000 mark from 2020-12.
Someone should record this speech and play it 5 years down the line.

1 year ago
Reply to  Famlin

To be correct i think that Toyota aleady invests in H2 stations. By the way I think that we can extrapolate how many H2 stations will be necessary per 1000 vehicles from the CNG data. For example in Czech Republic we have 24.500 CNG M1,N1 category vehicles per 214 public CNG stations. This year 2021 we expect to be open first 3 public H2 stations.

1 year ago

You nailed it with the last 2 paragraphs. Toyota’s biggest deal is its reliability. Like why would anyone want to buy a Camry or a RAV4 if they were only as reliable as other companies? Honda makes better performing cars, Mazda makes better looking cars both inside and out, Hyundai offers better value for money. EVs destroy Toyotas biggest competitive advantage so they should figure out what to replace it.

1 year ago

Haha, man Toyota is such a joke now. Well written Pedro.

1 year ago

Toyota is looking more and more like a bad version of Nokia. At least Nokia tried to embrace the new smart phone paradigm while Toyota is actively trying to stop it. Will the next generations of economist learn at university how Toyota failed to evolve rather about the Nokia’s downfall?

1 year ago

What a joke, by the time this launches you’ll be able to get a used 44 KWh 2018 Renault Zoe with that kind of money.

1 year ago

Decades ago the world was impressed with the japanes way of managing. How they invented Kanban, the ‘Toyota Way’ of continuous improvement and lean engineering, the complete dedication of the workforce to their company. And this is the flipside: Akio Toyoda hasn’t a clue and his workforce dare not go against him. Paradigm shifts require guts, vision and a culture that allows people to think out of the box. There is only one possible outcome: bye bye Toyota.

1 year ago
Reply to  carlos

I agree, they have lost the ingredient that made them once the best at tech and engineering. Weird in a country without oil reserves to decide the solution for transport are hybrids. External competition will make them shift to BEV at some point in this decade, probably with pain included like Nissan, closing factories and losing market share.

1 year ago

Even ignoring price for a moment: this thing is much smaller than the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV; has a similar-sized battery; a much weaker motor — yet weighs about the same…

1 year ago

It brings the concept of mini car too far, but it is not a car is a “pod” lol. Agree, incredible how the old manufacturers are letting new brands to gain market share, because of ideology against batteries. Just Honda announced that their battery cars will be build by GM. Great lack of leadership and vision. They have delayed electrification for too long.