The Toyota e•com

The Toyota e•com was a compact two-seater powered by batteries, designed for use within college and corporate campuses, planned communities, resorts, and urban areas, not unlike the GEM and other small electric vehicles made by niche manufacturers. The e·com’s styling and “driving enjoyment” set it apart from the others — as does its 62 mph top speed, far above the usual 30-50 mph.

The curvy, high-roof shape was designed to provide comfortable headroom for occupants well over six feet tall. The vehicle also features large doors for easy entry and exit, short overhangs front and rear, and clear sightlines all around. These features also make e·com easy to drive in congested city traffic, and easy to park in the tightest spaces. The body combines steel panels with strong and light Super-Olefin Polymer bumpers for safety protection.

Toyota ecom electric car - 2001

The e·com features front disc and rear drum brakes, dual driver and front passenger airbags, and seat belts with adjustable shoulder anchor points. Bumpers are designed to withstand a five-mph impact while incurring no visible damage. The seats offer excellent support with spacing well suited for two commuters as well as room for a golf bag. With the gear selector lever mounted on the center dash cluster and a clear pass-through on the floor, passengers may enter or exit either side, making parking much easier.

The e·com shares much of its EV techonology and power components with the larger RAV4-EV, which Toyota currently leases to fleet customers in selected markets nationwide. e·com is equipped with a compact, high-performance permanent-magnet motor producing 18.5 kilowatts (25 horsepower) between 2,450 and 3,820 rpm. Maximum torque is 76Nm (57 lb./ft.) and is reached between 0 and 2,450 rpm. Because of the torque characteristics of an electric motor, e·com’s off-the-line performance is quite surprising for a vehicle of its size. Top speed is electronically limited to 62 mph.

e·com’s front-wheel drive motor is between the front wheels for handling stability and simplified packaging. The AC permanent magnet motor is teamed with a three-shaft gear-train mated to a single speed transaxle. The motor simply operates backwards for Reverse gear. A microcomputer controls driver inputs for acceleration and braking, ensuring the system always operates at maximum efficiency to maximize range and drivability.

e·com uses a single, sealed battery pack comprised of 24 nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries linked together to produce 288 volts, placed under the floor to maximize cabin space. Charging can be conveniently accomplished by either a 220-volt “Magne-ChargeTM-based” inductive system using a “mini-paddle” designed jointly by Toyota and General Motors or an on-board 110-volt conductive system. Inductive charging takes about two hours, while conductive charging using household current requires about 9.5 hours. Fully charged, the pack provides approximately a 60-mile range, depending on driving conditions.

Contributing to increased driving range is an advanced regenerative braking system. When the vehicle is coasting or the brakes are applied, the regenerative system uses the motor as a generator to recapture energy that would otherwise be lost as heat or kinetic energy. This energy is returned to the batteries as stored electricity.


109.8 in.


58.1 in.


63.2 in.


70.9 in.


1,698 lb.




Permanent Magnet

Max. Power:

18.5kW/25 horsepower (2,450-3,820 rpm)

Max. Torque:

76Nm/57 lb./ft. (0-2,450 rpm)


Single Speed


Front Disc/Rear Drum (Hydraulic, with Power Assist) with Integrated Regenerative System


Electric Power Assisted

Suspension (F/R):

F: Independent MacPherson Strut
R: Torsion Beam


24 12-Volt Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride

Total Voltage:

288 V/28Ah

Recharge Time:

2 Hours (Inductive)/9.5 Hours (Conductive)


Off-Board Inductive; On-Board Conductive

Input Voltage:

AC 240V, 30-Amp/AC 120V, 15-Amp

Top Speed:

62 mph (Electronically limited)


Approx. 60 miles (Combined city and highway)

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