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Toyota drops plan for widespread sales of electric car

Toyota Motor Corp’s Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada poses next to the company’s newly developed compact electric vehicle eQ after a news conference in Tokyo September 24, 2012. Toyota will release 21 new hybrid vehicle models over the next three years, the Japanese automaker said on Monday.

(Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp has scrapped plans for widespread sales of a new all-electric minicar, saying it had misread the market and the ability of still-emerging battery technology to meet consumer demands.

Toyota, which had already taken a more conservative view of the market for battery-powered cars than rivals General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co, said it would only sell about 100 battery-powered eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release.

The automaker had announced plans to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year when it unveiled the eQ as an pure-electric variant of its iQ minicar in 2010.

“Two years later, there are many difficulties,” Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development, told reporters on Monday.

By dropping plans for a second electric vehicle in its line-up, Toyota cast more doubt on an alternative to the combustion engine that has been both lauded for its oil-saving potential and criticized for its heavy reliance on government subsidies in key markets like the United States.



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