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The Toyota Innova EV will not be making it into production, according to Toyota Indonesia. The Innova EV concept displayed at the Indonesia International Motor Show in Jakarta became hot news as soon as images of it went viral on the internet. However, the hopes of an Innova EV making it into production have been shattered, at least for now.
The Toyota Innova is one of the most respected and revered MPVs or MUVs in the world. It is not the most feature-loaded MPV out there, nor is it the most powerful. However it is one of the most reliable vehicles in the world and has earned itself a reputation of clocking lakhs of kilometres without showing the slightest hints of trouble. Little surprise there, given that the Innova is based on the legendary Hilux platform.
However, every product has to move with the times, and when Toyota Indonesia displayed the Innova EV at IIMS everyone the world over thought it was time for the Innova to move with the times. Now though more clarity has come out regarding the arrival of the production version.
According to Autocar India, Anton Jimmi Suwandy, Marketing Director of Toyota Astra Motor, Indonesia told Autonet Magz, "The Kijang Innova Electric is not a car that we will sell. So this is just a concept, and its nature is just for engineering development." That one statement gives a good background with regard to the Innova EV's development and that also explains how they managed to do it secretly.
The Innova EV concept was being used by the brand for research and development purposes. It was more of a test-bed for future EVs being developed for the South-East Asian markets. Toyota's new engineering arm for Asia-Pacific which works on the development of vehicles for both Toyota and Daihatsu made the Innova EV concept.
So, it is a proper working concept. However, it isn't production ready and won't be in that state for a long time now. However, the Innova EV concept was displayed as a case study to gauge the demand for electric vehicles in the market. For this cause, the Innova EV has been very successful indeed.
The development of an electric Innova is certain to turn things around for Toyota in the EV space. Firstly, the Innova is a proven vehicle with an excellent track record. Secondly, it is a Toyota after all and if Toyota is selling an EV, everyone just knows it is going to be reliable. Finally, it will create a new market for electric MPV/MUVs and that is a good thing.
However, there are some inherent issues as well. For example, the Innova in its current state is a little too old-school to be an effective EV. It uses a body-on-frame construction and rides on a ladder-frame. This setup is not the most ideal for an electric vehicle as it will lack the space required to mount the batteries under the floor.
If Toyota decided to mount the battery and motor under the bonnet, it would result in an uneven weight distribution which in turn would be disastrous for the vehicle in terms of handling. With these factors in mind, it would not be feasible to have a production version of the Innova EV, at least in the current generation.
However, Toyota has noticed the impressive response the Innova EV has received, and if Toyota develops a future-generation Innova as a monocoque, there might just be a provision to implement an electric drivetrain in it. This, however, is speculation at the moment and might come to fruition only in the long term.
Toyota however, has been working on the next-generation Innova. It will retain the body-on-frame construction but will feature new and improved powertrains. We might even get a hybrid powertrain with the new Innova.
Thoughts On Toyota Innova EV Not Making It To Production
While most manufacturers across the globe believe in electrification over all other powertrain alternatives, Toyota thinks hybrids are the immediate need while Hydrogen is a more feasible long-term solution. However, Toyota is also working on electric vehicles to retain the competitive edge it needs in this day and age of modern mobility.
A combination of hybrids, EVs, and hydrogen-fueled vehicles is certain to give us some interesting vehicles in the short-term, intermediate, and long-term future. It remains to be seen if we will ever get an electric Innova.