Toyota thinks the small, all-electric COMS could be a solution for navigating crowded urban centres, but for now it's only on sale in Japan; don't expect to see it in North America any time soon.
Montreal, QC – The Montreal Auto Show always has its fair share of small, cute vehicles that are localized for the Quebec market. Expectations at the show typically surface around a new city car or wagon, but for 2017, Toyota unleashed something slightly smaller and unique – the ultra-compact electric COMS.
It's hard to say what the COMS actually is. It looks like a cross between a scooter and golf cart. Starting at 410 kilograms (904 pounds), this single-seat pure electric vehicle is best suited to navigate urban centres or narrow alleys around the neighbourhood with a capacity to carry up to 30 kg (66 lbs).
There are two available options for the COMS: a P COM personal vehicle and B COM cargo option. Outside of exterior colours and a sun visor, the only major difference between the two is a delivery box instead of a trunk box for the cargo unit. According to Toyota Canada, “the passenger version makes it easy to get where we need to be,” while the cargo option is “perfect for smaller deliveries.”
As fun as it looks, the COMS has its limitations. On a full charge, it can operate up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) at a maximum speed of 60 km/h through a single rear-wheel drive motor. As small as it is, the COMS will still take six hours to recharge when drained.
There's no need to look around the cockpit for storage areas, as there's only enough room to fit the driver. Storage space is found in the trunk with enough room for a couple of grocery bags.
If the COMS looks familiar, it's similar to the three-wheeling i-Road, another Toyota urban EV creation. The i-Road looks and drives more like a motorcycle, while the COMS four-wheeler takes on a more conservative car-like appearance. If it's going to hit the streets, one thing it will most likely need are a set of doors. There are seat belts in place for safety, but no one would dare take this out during the cold, winter months in Montreal.
Its debut on North American soil at the Montreal Auto Show doesn't mean it's ready for Canadian public roads just yet. However, it potentially could be used as a delivery service vehicle, as it currently is for the Japanese postal service.
The COMS is currently on sale in Japan and being tested in Europe. There are no plans as of yet to bring it to North America. If it eventually arrives, its starting price in Japan sits at less than 1 million yen (about $11,558 CAD).
Photos: David Miller