In search of a small car with greater payload and space, TES has now bought and fitted out a Toyota iQ 1.0-litre automatic as a customer demonstrator, and has just ordered a second vehicle. "We're getting a lot of good reviews at the moment", says Managing Director Clive Paul. "Manchester Police, for example, are very keen to take the prototype for a full trial, and if they like it they'll switch to iQs. We have also shown it to Devon & Cornwall Police, who were very impressed and have been in contact with TES to arrange a long-term trial".
"The most important thing about the iQ is that it can carry more weight", says Mr Paul. "At present, when carrying all the equipment and two operators we're right on the borderline. We've been having to make everything with aluminium to reduce weight, which adds substantially to our costs".
The iQ solves this problem, as its gross vehicle weight is 150 kg higher at 1200 kg. "Manchester Police say they like the idea of being able to carry two operators, because with all their body armour and so on, at present they can carry only one. Police officers also tend to be over 6ft tall, so they can often use only women officers in the cars. The iQ has loads more space than the Smart Car".
Weight and space are not the only considerations. "It's very important that we offer manoeuvrable small cars that can enforce traffic regulations without being an obstruction themselves", says Mr Paul. "Also, councils are extremely eco-conscious". The Toyota iQ 1.0-litre with multidrive returns 60 mpg combined, with CO2 emissions of 110 g/km.
Surveillance and other equipment specified by customers can weigh around 60 kg, and installation involves stripping out the car's interior, including back seats, running in cabling, adding reinforcement for the roof-mast and installing a compressor. Fitting-out, which can take up to five weeks, is carried out at TES's Pulloxhill base, as is routine servicing and maintenance of equipment. Maintenance and servicing of vehicles would be undertaken by Toyota.