Toyota Auto Body in Japan has released a cute little one-seater electric vehicle for urban drivers. In some ways it isn’t much more than a glorified golf cart, but could still offer lots of appeal to those wanting to drive said sexy golf cart in low-cost style in low speed environments.
The Toyota COMS ultra-compact electric vehicle, according to Toyota (Google Translate), has a price of around 798,000 yen, or around $10,000 US. It is available in two options – P for consumers and B for delivery - and can achieve a maximum speed of around 38 miles per hour.
Range on the Toyota COMS (Google Translate) is said to be around 31 miles or so, making this definitely not a vehicle you’ll be taking to visit grandma out in the suburbs if you live in a city’s urban core. Still, if you need to run a few errands around your neighborhood, and don’t mind cruising at a slower speed, it could very well do the trick.
Technically, if this vehicle was to come to American shores, it would be considered pretty close a low-speed vehicle and more specifically a neighborhood electric vehicle. Defining characteristics of this, which ties back to the glorified golf car comment earlier, depend upon laws of the stare in particular, but as a general rule of thumb we are talking about a top speed of around 30 MPH and a body weight of around 3,000 pounds.
It may also, in some ways, be related to the flopped Toyota eCom which first appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997. That was a two-passenger EV which was pulled for financial reasons.
Toyota says the COMS, with its body weight of around 881 pounds, is powered by an electric motor with a rated output of 0.59W. It is equipped with regenerative braking, which helps to restore power to the vehicle’s battery . Recharging time via a standard Japanese 100 volt home outlet is around six hours, and Toyota estimates it costs about $1.50 for a full charge.
The COMS, as far as vehicles of this type go, is pretty good looking. I happen to agree with a recent Green Car Reports assessment of it, which reads:
We love the Com’s styling, and think it is significantly better designed than many mobility scooters or neighbourhood electric vehicles.
As far as safety goes, which is usually an afterthought in vehicles like this, Toyota says it has addressed this through in-house testing to ensure the safety of passengers as well as protection of the battery pack. The seatbelt was also tested to comply to what is said to be European safety standards.