Toyota concepts await show

by Hiroko Nakata

Staff Writer

Ahead of next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday unveiled two fuel-efficient concept cars, one an electric vehicle and the other a fuel-cell vehicle.

The concept EV, called the FT-EVIII, has better range and speed characteristics than previous models. The auto giant has said it aims to start selling electric vehicles in 2012.

The FT-EVIII has a range of 105 km on a full charge, and it has a maximum speed of 125 kph.

The earlier FT-EVII concept car unveiled at last year’s motor show can run 90 km and has a maximum speed of 100 kph.

Toyota also took the wraps off the fuel-cell concept car FCV-R, based on a sedan. It is more compact than the previous FCV, which was based on a sport utility vehicle like the Toyota Kluger.

The carmaker said it plans to release fuel-cell vehicles onto the market by around 2015.

Toyota also unveiled a prototype compact hybrid that it plans to launch in late December.

The car, called the Aqua in Japan and Prius c in other countries, can travel 35 km on 1 liter of fuel.

The Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on Dec. 2, will feature 15 Japanese auto brands and 25 foreign makers.