Home » The Electric Toyota C+Pod Is Smaller Than A Smart Fortwo And Cheaper Than Some Golf Carts

The Electric Toyota C+Pod Is Smaller Than A Smart Fortwo And Cheaper Than Some Golf Carts

Toyota C Pod Topshot
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Why is it that automakers often produce their most outlandish products strictly for their home markets? From the Volkswagen Golf Country to the Nissan S-Cargo, the most unorthodox vehicles in history rarely fall terribly far from home base. Here’s another: This is the Toyota C+Pod, a pint-sized EV that’s indisputably the weirdest car Toyota makes right now.

Toyota C+Pod

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Yes, the bZ4X isn’t the only electric vehicle Toyota makes right now. In Japan, the brand has carved out a niche of green mobility solutions like a couple of three-wheeled electric scooters and this tiny electric car. The C+Pod is the only Japanese-made kei car since the Subaru R1 to not use up every millimeter of the kei car size boundaries, and it shows. At 98 inches long and 50 inches wide, the C+Pod has a smaller footprint than an original smart city coupe from 25 years ago. However, it’s also 61 inches tall, meaning it shouldn’t be as cramped as its footprint suggests.

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Upon first glance, the Toyota C+Pod is downright cute. Sure, it may wear a scowl, but it’s so small that its anger is adorable, like a pissed-off hedgehog or a grumpy rabbit. Its wide eyes come straight out of a past future, while its clear tail light elements are a dose of tuner nostalgia. From the door handles to the wheel arches, squircles abound, and the two-tone color scheme is decidedly funky. You could tell people that the C+Pod is a concept car from any point in the last 25 years and people would believe you, a whimsical feat if ever I’ve seen one.

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On the inside, the Toyota C+Pod is lavishly appointed for a vehicle of this segment. I’m talking a full dashboard, full door cards, typical car seats, airbags, and a litany of buttons that do things. None of that sounds terribly impressive, but it’s far more conventional than what you’d get in, say, a Citroen Ami. Step on up to the G trim level and you’ll be in the lap of luxury with dashboard HVAC vents, heated seats, and hubcaps. Alright, so it does feel a bit like we’ve stepped back to 2002, but for the segment the C+Pod occupies, that’s perfectly fine.

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Judging by the spec sheet, the C+Pod is unlikely to thrill with a top speed of 37 mph and a range of 93 miles. Those figures don’t sound terribly impressive until you learn that the C+Pod uses a tiny nine-kWh battery pack and cranks out just 13 horsepower. You can build two C+Pod battery packs using the same resources it takes to build one battery pack for the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid crossover, or to use an extreme case, 22.77 C+Pod battery packs out of the same resources required to build one GMC Hummer EV battery pack. At this point, 93 miles of range seems like an absolute miracle. Oh, and guess what? This little EV supports vehicle-to-load power, functioning as a 1,500-watt generator during power cuts.

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If there’s any downside to the Toyota C+Pod, it’s cost. This thing carries a starting price tag of 1,665,000, or about $11,504 at the time of writing. While comparable to many golf carts, it’s hard to imagine many North American buyers craving one when a used Nissan Leaf costs about the same and is highway-capable. However, if you think of the C+Pod as a home battery bank you can drive, it makes a whole lot more sense. Here’s something that takes up just a couple more square feet than a full-sized mattress, can power your home in an emergency, and can get you to the shops and back. It even has a decent cargo area accessible by lifting the hatch. Come to think of it, I wonder if this thing will fit in the back of a long bed truck with the tailgate down? Now that would be a weird two-car solution.

(Photo credits: Toyota)

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Adela
Adela
7 months ago

It is similar in shape to a golf cart. Does the battery also use lithium battery?
https://bslbattery.us/

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
10 months ago

With such a small battery, it seems reasonable to think that this could be charged with a standard wall outlet overnight – as opposed to needing dedicated charging infrastructure to charge it.

Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
10 months ago

You can’t really contextualize new JDM prices against North American. First, the tax structure, where you get a huge break in the Kei-class. Second, regressive fees, where it costs more to own and maintain an older car. So in Japan a tiny, new, expensive(er) car may actually cost less than a larger cheaper older one. And it’s perfectly suited for the non-Interstate scale of life in its home market.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Fjord
Fjord
10 months ago

I’m sure there are reasons for that 37 mph top speed, but even as a huge fan of tiny cars, that’s a bit low for me. City traffic easily moves that fast on surface roads, and it’s too slow for highway bridges in the city. I’d want something that could do 50 mph.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

Come to think of it, I wonder if this thing will fit in the back of a long bed truck with the tailgate down?

You’d have to be pretty careful driving it in, but the bed of my truck is 98.1″ long and 50.5″ between the wheel wells. So in theory, you could close the tailgate; in practice the bedliner of my truck would probably be scratching the bumper.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

I am sure 2 of me wouldnt fit in this. I also could not get in or out easily. And once inside if i farted it would blow the doors off. Let Japanese cars built for tiny dancers stay un Japan. This vehicle seats are the size of airplane seats.

Jesus Helicoptering Christ
Jesus Helicoptering Christ
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

If everybody followed that logic they’d all be driving around in gigantic SUVs… oh.

In other words; just because you don’t fit in it doesn’t mean that nobody else in your country will fit in it.

ScottyB
ScottyB
10 months ago

Fun little car, but maybe they should have gone with C Pod… C+Pod makes it sound like it didn’t do very well on a test. I’m not sure I’d like the speedo protruding into my line of vision quite so much, but the dash is otherwise quite handsome. I really don’t mind any of it except the segmented side glass. I know why they did it, but it would be annoying as you would be continuously startled, thinking something was there. Like the time you owned a car with a rear spoiler that was too damn tall, which most of us car folks have sucuumbed to at least once before choosing spoiler delete or blade spoiler forever after going forward.

Scott
Scott
10 months ago

I dig it! Not sure if I could bring myself to pay $12K for it… maybe. 37 MPH and 90ish miles of range would suffice for like 94% of my driving (just around Hollywood and Burbank… runs to friend’s houses, Trader Joes, Rompage hardware, that place with the gelato, etc…). Maybe now and then a trip out to Eagle Rock for Casa Bianca Pizza Pie, but that’s maybe 25 miles round-trip, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Really, if the AC works, and the radio sounds OK, and there’s room for a few bags of groceries, what more does a person need most of the time?

Greg
Greg
10 months ago

Real question. What the fuck is going on in America that we can’t have any quirky or cool cars. Just big,ugly cars.

The chicken tax doesn’t make it make sense, so what is our horrid government doing that doesn’t let anything like this pass? Or is it that our population is stupid and doesn’t buy anything fun?

Make it make sense. Probably the top 10 cars I would want aren’t eligible to buy in the USA.

Rafael
Rafael
10 months ago
Reply to  Greg

It is not the government fault. It is just good old American patriotism, people want to buy the vehicles with the largest profit margin possible to keep the industry afloat.

Thevenin
Thevenin
10 months ago
Reply to  Greg

This question comes up with new home construction a lot, and I think there are some noteworthy parallels.

They’re absolutely massive, disguising their disproportionate bulk with overwrought zigzag rooflines that work like dazzle camo, and they’re slathered in enough beige to vanish into the nearest cargo shorts convention. Sounds a little like a crossover, doesn’t it?

So why are these houses selling, and why can’t construction companies make little brick cottages or cantilevered architectural show-offs anymore?

Because houses are expensive. Wildly so. If you can’t resell your house for some reason, the majority of your net worth evaporates. And that means you steer clear of quirky houses with niche appeal. I might like that traditional bungalow, but will the next person? It doesn’t even have a four-car garage!

When things are expensive and likely to be resold, the discriminating buyer seeks out the “most average” product possible — whatever they believe has the broadest appeal. The greater the expense, the greater the pressure to be average.

21CenturySchizoidMan
21CenturySchizoidMan
10 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

While I agree that it is often easier and quicker to sell your cookie-cutter home or white CUV, you can often get more money when you sell if you have a quirky or unique item.

For example, you can sell that used white Rav4 two hours after listing it. Whereas it might take you a few weeks to sell that yellow Rav4. But if someone wants a yellow Rav4, then they are likely willing to pay extra money to get that Rav4 in yellow! Same goes with homes. It might be on the market longer, but when the right buyer comes along, they are willing to pay $$$.

Moral of the story, buy what you like, not what you think others will like in the future!

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
10 months ago

I live on an island that’s 15 miles long and no paved roads. This is the vehicle I’ve been dreaming of. Damn you, Toyota!! I just pray the base MR2 is essentially a mid engined version of this

Jim Smith
Jim Smith
10 months ago

Make this a UTV with mud tires. Slap a $30k price. Profit!

Ron888
Ron888
10 months ago

So it’s 5 inches narrower than the Kei car i once owned.That’s not terrible but i have to wonder why it’s necessary.
Are most front doors 50 inches wide,and they’re letting this thing sleep on their living room carpet at night?

Also,surely thats the smallest fire extinguisher ever!

Last edited 10 months ago by Ron888
John Galt
John Galt
10 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

That’s a road flare. Not a fire extinguisher.

Jet Black
Jet Black
10 months ago

Why is it that automakers often produce their most outlandish products strictly for their home markets?

Different regulations and differently sized people, and small people like to drive small cars on small roads. This thing wouldn’t be legal anywhere outside of Japan, and at the same time it’s the perfect ride for many urban Japanese.

Try visiting Tokyo sometime and see if you can locate an apartment parking space that would fit a Hummer EV. And if you’re over 5’8″ tall, make sure to count how many times you find yourself ducking or getting hit in the head by support beams and doorways. Japanese people have just historically been smaller, and they built their infrastructure around their average sized person as any culture does.

Phuzz
Phuzz
10 months ago
Reply to  Jet Black

I’m pretty sure it would be legal in the EU and UK as a ‘heavy quadricycle’. If Toyota limited the power to eight horsepower (6kW), then it might squeak in as a ‘light quadricycle’ and anyone could drive it on a motorbike license.

Buzz
Buzz
10 months ago

V2L is nice, but V2H is what I’m looking for in an EV.

You’re looking at anywhere from $6k to $8.5k for a 10kWh battery from Enphase. If I could slap a set of wheels, a windshield, a pair of seats, and an air conditioner on my battery to drive it around town AND use it to run my house during a power outage, I’d happily spend the extra couple bucks for the privilege over a non-wheeled (and seated, AC-ed, etc.) battery equivalent. It’s a no-brainer.

It’s really frustrating that so few vehicles have this capability – the f150 lightning is the only model I’m aware of that can do Vehicle-to-Home.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

2013 and newer Nissan Leafs also have V2 whatever capability:

https://www.theverge.com/2022/9/12/23349971/nissan-leaf-bidirectional-charging-approved-v2h-v2g-fermata-energy

It looks like the Dcbel 16 is on the market (in California at least) and can be used for residential V2H with a Leaf. Bad news is its NOT cheap; $7500-$8400, maybe more.

https://www.dcbel.energy/r16/

Last edited 10 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago

They need to sell it here

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
10 months ago

(Toyota) C-Pod and (Ford) C-Max sound like the names for prophylactic anti-osteoporosis pills, now available in gel capsule and extra-strength variants respectively.

Eduardo Kaftanski
Eduardo Kaftanski
10 months ago

Give it 50mph top speed and I would buy one tomorrow.

Sbzr
Sbzr
10 months ago

wish they had kept the iRoad over this

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