Toyota Proace CITY Electric Delivers Practicality with Zero Emissions
The new Toyota Proace CITY Electric marks a significant expansion of the Toyota Professional electrified light commercial vehicle (LCV) and people carrier line-up, giving the brand a strong contender in the high-volume compact van segment in Europe.
The new range, to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2021, offers customers an impressive breadth of choice: panel vans and five- to seven-seat Verso people carriers in standard (4.4 m) and long (4.75 m) wheelbase variants, and a long-wheelbase, five-seat Crew Cab. Following on from the recent launch of the Proace Electric and Proace Verso Electric medium-duty van and people carrier, it strengthens Toyota’s position in vehicle electrification.
Practicality is assured, too, with the EV models matching the load capacity of the Proace CITY models, with up to 4.4 m3, plus up to 800 kg payload and 750 kg towing capacity.
The potential for success is clear, with annual compact EV van sales having doubled since 2017 to almost 20,000 units, with the market growing four times faster rate than for medium-duty EV van sales. The new models are ideally suited to fleet and small businesses who need capable, reliable transport they can use to access the increasing number of urban low and zero-emission zones, and from customers keen to improve their environmental profile.
Proace CITY Electric thus has great potential to help Toyota achieve its target of a powertrain mix of more than 10% zero-emissions in Europe by 2025. The new model will have a phased introduction in Europe, beginning with France, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom from the fourth quarter of 2021. Other markets will follow in the course of the year and in 2022.
Powertrain and Performance
All Proace CITY Electric models are powered by a 136 DIN hp/100 kW electric motor, driving the front wheels. The powertrain also features a lithium-ion battery, integrated DC/DC charger/converter, high-voltage connection box, ondulator and reductor.
The lithium-ion battery is located beneath the load compartment floor, avoiding intrusion in the load space. With 216 cells organised in 18 modules, it has a 50 kWh capacity. This enables a targeted WLTP driving range of between 260 and 280 km when fully charged, and a top speed of 135 km/h. In Power mode, acceleration from 0-100 km/h can be accomplished between 11.2 and 11.7 seconds depending on the version, and from 80 to 120 km/h between 8.9 and 9.4 seconds depending on the version.
Efficient Charging Options
All Proace CITY Electric models are equipped as standard with a 7 kW single-phase on-board charger (OBC), or can be optionally specified with an 11 kW tri-phase charger. Type 2 cables for connection to a domestic power supply or a wallbox charging system are also supplied.
With the single-phase 7 kW OBC, a full battery charge can be accomplished in 7.5 hours. With the three-phase 11 kW OBC, charging time can be reduced to just 5 hours. When the vehicle is connected to a pubic or business 100 kW DC fast charger, an 80% charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes.
Charging status is indicated by a lighting system around the inlet socket, located in the rear left-side wing. When the cover is opened and the cable is attached, white illumination signals the vehicle is in stand-by mode, ready for charging to start; when charging is in progress, this changes to a green flashing light, then solid green when charging is complete. A red light indicates there is a defect or problem; a blue light indicates that a charging session has been scheduled.
Effective battery temperature management is key to maintaining performance and driving range, in cold and hot conditions. The Proace CITY Electric’s lithium-ion battery uses a glycol water-cooling system that is refreshed by a cold loop device and warmed by an electric heater. This helps maintain battery charging time and efficiency and ensures optimal battery performance across a wide temperature spectrum, from -40 to +55˚C.
E-toggle and Drive Mode Selector
In place of a gear shift, the Proace CITY Electric has an e-toggle control on the centre console to engage Park and select Drive, Neutral and Reverse. There is also a “B” switch to gain additional regenerative braking energy to help charge the battery each time the driver takes their foot off the accelerator pedal.
Eco, Normal and Power drive modes can be selected using a switch alongside the e-toggle, to suit the driver’s preference, the load being carried and driving conditions. In each mode, the motor’s power and torque are adjusted; in Power and Eco modes the throttle mapping is also changed. Peak output in Power mode is 100 kW with 260 Nm of torque; in Normal the output is 80 kW with 210 Nm; and in Eco (appropriate when carrying heavy loads), the levels are reduced to 60 kW and 180 Nm.
An electronic parking brake is also fitted as standard.
The introduction of battery electric power doesn’t compromise Proace CITY Electric’s practicality. The load space extends to 4.4m3 on models where the clever Smart Cargo system is specified, with extra storage capacity gained through a folding passenger seat mechanism and through-loading facility. Maximum payloads are 800 kg for the standard wheelbase version (L1) and 750 kg for the long wheelbase model (L2); both vans can tow braked loads of up to 750 kg.
The compact vans are offered with two individual front seats or driver’s seat plus a two-seat bench. The Verso gives excellent flexibility, with five and seven-seat configurations for both wheelbase lengths. The Crew Cab model (L2 long wheelbase only) can accommodate five people on board.
Model Grades and Equipment
The Proace CITY Electric range mirrors the grades of the Proace CITY range, across both van and Verso models, offering the same equipment specifications for practicality, safety, comfort and convenience.
The compact van is available in Base and Comfort specifications. The entry-level version is a straightforward, workhorse model, focused on practicality and low cost of ownership. The Comfort version will additionally provide side door-loading, larger 16-inch wheels with covers and the Smart Cargo load-extending system.
Proace CITY Verso Electric will likewise follow the grade structure of the Proace CITY models with Combi, Shuttle, Family and Family+ versions, the latter a high-specification model equipped with a colour head-up display, satellite navigation and 17-inch alloy wheels.
In addition to the e-toggle and drive mode selector, all models will feature additional EV-specific functions in the 10-inch TFT multi-information display, including battery capacity and power consumption data. Owners can also use the MyT app to access connected services via their smartphone. This allows remote operation of the air conditioning system (to pre-heat or cool the cabin prior to a journey), battery status monitoring and management of remote charging and the vehicle’s charging schedule.
Extensive Safety and Driver Assistance Systems
Both the Proace CITY Electric van and Verso models benefit from the wide-ranging active safety systems of Toyota Safety Sense that are the most comprehensive in their class. Features include active and post -collision braking systems, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition with intelligent speed assist, driver attention warning, trailer stability control, high beam assist, blind spot detection and Advanced Grip Control with Hill Ascent/Descent Control.
Driver assistance is also impressive, with the availability of parking sensors, a rear-view camera, and, for the van, the Visiopark 180-degree system for an all-round, bird’s eye view of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings.