Toyota unveils its battery-electric strategy by unveiling 15 new concepts. What does it mean for the brand’s performance models?by Dim Angelov, on
Nowadays, a lot of car manufacturers talk about going carbon neutral, and Toyota is one of the companies at the forefront of this endeavor. Toyota made it clear, by now, that the company is not really interested in developing sports cars by itself. The GR Supra and GR86, both of which, co-developed with other manufacturers, are proof enough. With that being said, Akio Toyoda himself announced 15 new Toyota and Lexus models, and it seems not all is lost for car enthusiasts.
At the time of writing this, Toyota is the latest automotive manufacturer to reveal its battery electric vehicle strategy, the company revealed 15 fully-electric concepts, as a preview to future Toyota and Lexus models. Toyota has achieved the largest exhibition of concept cars, in recent times and it includes everything from urban crossovers, to sedans, SUVs, and even sports cars, some of which, based on existing models, while others, on the company’s dedicated e-TNGA platform.
The 15 concepts are classified into two separate categories. The first category is “carbon-reducing vehicles” and includes HEVs, PHEVs, and FHEV’s, while the second category – “carbon-neutral vehicles” includes BEVs and FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles). Keep in mind that those 15 concepts are not all models the company is planning.
The introduction to the future lineup started with the Toyota BZ4X, which is a reasonably-priced, EV crossover, with up to 250 miles of range and 215 horsepower from a twin-electric motor setup. The BZ concept family also includes three all-new, compact models on the e-TNGA. One of the other previewed models was the Lexus RZ, which is the sportier, more luxurious equivalent of the BZ4X.
Toyota is giving us retro-futuristic SUVs and Pick-up trucks
Proof that Toyota has not forgotten its iconic models is the retro-inspired Toyota Compact Cruiser, styled after the FJ Cruiser. Next to that was also a pick-up truck, strongly resembling the Toyota Tacoma. This would imply that the next-generation Toyota pick-up trucks will follow in the footsteps of the 2022 Toyota Tundra and offer a hybrid version. The BZ concept family also features a large, three-row family SUV, which implies that the next-gen Toyota Land Cruiser will feature electrification.
Successors to the Toyota MR-2 and Lexus LFA?
As we mentioned earlier, the exhibition included two sports car concepts, one of which resembles a compact, mid-engine model, while the other is clearly a high-performance variant. There have been rumors about a spiritual successor to the Toyota MR-2 and the “mid-engine” concept may be foreshadowing it. We already know that Toyota is considering a partnership with Porsche, for an MR-2 successor, as the German company is already working on a fully-electric Porsche 718.
We know more about the other sports car concept, which strongly resembles a Lexus LFA successor. This may be truer than you think since Akio Toyoda mentioned that the Sports Battery EV includes “secret sauce”, derived from the development of the epic Lexus LFA. The dramatically-styled coupe is said to be capable of over 435 miles (700 km) of cruising range and a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in the low-two-second range.
Toyota is not a brand you would associate with performance right away, especially since half of the brand’s performance models are co-developed with other carmakers. With that said, what was mostly perceived as a manufacturer of reliable, but rather unremarkable vehicles, surprised us by giving us the rally-bred GR Yaris, which is followed up by the highly-anticipated GR Corolla.
While none of Toyota’s current performance models feature electrification, it wouldn’t be the first time the company surprises us. We know that Toyota and Lexus plan to sell a total of 30 battery-electric models (BEVs), by 2030, with a goal of 3.5 million global sales. Toyota has proven it can pull off crazy sales numbers. Since the inception of the Prius, in 1997, Toyota has sold a total of 18.1 million hybrid vehicles. With this in mind, we are glad the company has not forgotten the small market share made up of car enthusiasts craving performance in a dramatically-styled sports coupe.