More and more evidence is mounting that Toyota is serious about launching an electric sports car.
After revealing what looked like a modern MR2 powered by batteries with a concept in 2021, the automaker on Wednesday used the 2023 Tokyo auto show to roll out an evolved version of the concept boasting a completed interior.
Called the FT-Se, the latest concept retains the mid-engine proportions of the earlier concept but adopts a new front-end design. It’s also badged as a product from Gazoo Racing, suggesting Toyota’s official motorsports department helped with the development.
As revealed in the video below, the concept also boasts active aerodynamics, a yoke-style steering wheel (which suggests steer-by-wire technology), and a trio of screens.
All Toyota has said about the concept is that it features “highly responsive controls” unique to electric vehicles, pointing to the type of highly precise torque vectoring systems that independent control of electric motors can deliver. Toyota also said the concept features a wide and low design that should further aid its handling.
Beyond the concepts, Toyota has said very little about its electric sports car plans. However, Toyota Chairman—and former CEO—Akio Toyoda revealed earlier this year that he’s personally involved in the development of an electric sports car for Toyota. He confirmed it would have a manual transmission (complete with a clutch pedal) and generate engine sounds, though he also said production hadn’t been approved.
While an electric sports car for Toyota may not have been approved yet, Lexus has confirmed plans for an electric supercar that may come with a solid-state battery and enough performance to deliver 0-60 mph acceleration in the low 2.0-second range. The supercar is expected in showrooms later this decade.
Joining the FT-Se on Toyota’s stand at the Tokyo auto show are various other EV concepts. These include a crossover called the FT-3e, a mid-size pickup truck called the EPU, and an SUV badged as a Land Cruiser.
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