Yamaha’s tiny Motiv.e city car, penned by McLaren F1 supercar designer Gordon Murray, could hit the European market before the end of the decade.
According to Japanese business paper Nikkei, the company will invest more than AU$10 million into a European production facility for the project.
The report adds that the compact Smart rival will focus primarily on the European market, but that sales in Japan and other Asian countries could follow.
The production Motiv.e will reportedly be offered in two forms, one driven by a 25kW/896Nm all-electric system and the other with a small 1.0 litre petrol engine producing around 60kW.
As a concept, the electric Motiv.e is capable of travelling up to 160km on a single charge, with recharge time listed at around three hours via a conventional home power point.
The report follows confirmation at the Motiv.e’s 2013 Tokyo Motor Show unveiling that Yamaha would aim for a market launch before 2020, although it has not officially commented on the project since.
Details are still to come, and it remains unclear if the Motiv.e will be built to Murray’s innovative ‘iStream’ formula, which features ‘upcycled’ plastic panels bonded to a tubular steel frame for strength and lightweight design.