Toyota’s Concept Becoming Real with Electric Manual
No child dreams of putting up a poster of an electric crossover on their room walls. Nonetheless, they might possibly fantasize about adorning their space with one of Toyota’s stylish FT-Se concepts that premiered at the Japan Mobility Show this week. The designer confessed to InsideEVs that there could be more than just a glimmer of hope and that we could witness it come alive sooner than expected.
Hideaki Iida, the project supervisor for the GR (Gazoo Racing) Design Squad and designer of the FT-Se Concept, told me in an interview on the event floor that the motorcar does possess an identical battery pack as the Lexus LF-ZC which has been formally declared for manufacture. While Toyota hasn’t publicised if the FT-Se is going to be a genuine car or otherwise, Iida was confident that it will occur only after the Lexus initiates its unveiling.
“The Lexus model will be out in 2026,” Iida stated. “I can’t guarantee the exact year, but we’ll do our best to get it out as soon as possible. After 2026 is the earliest I can tell you.”
The strongest confirmation yet that an electric sports car from Toyota could become a reality has been made. After spending days examining the evidence, it all leads to the same conclusion. To begin with, the FT-Se looks more complete than many of the other concept cars Toyota had on display at the auto show. The windows were uncovered and the interior was visible. The Toyota EPU truck concept also appeared to be quite close to the real thing.
Next, consider what Iida said next: “This is a brand-new design language to show this is a new brand… not traditional.” He was quick to point out that the FT-Se had nothing to do with the MR2 or even the Supra, despite the fact that they both have a Gurney-style bubble roof; this one is designed to stand on its own. Yet when I was part of a roundtable interview with Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda for Road & Track this summer, he confirmed that Toyota’s GR performance division was planning to launch its own standalone electric vehicle. Given that this designer works with GR, it could very well be this car.
At the show, other Toyota representatives hinted that the FT-Se could potentially feature the company’s upcoming simulated “manual” gearbox for electric vehicles, which is expected to be released in 2026. This was also alluded to by Akio Toyoda, who said: “It has a manual transmission. There’s also clutches too.” While the FT-Se interior did not include anything of this sort, a production car could. It may sound strange to have a manual gearbox in an EV, but Toyota wants to maintain the tactile feel and control of a manual transmission while keeping it emissions-free.
Iida declined to answer my inquiries in regard to the power rating, expected mass and cost of this production car; however, he affirmed its presumed rivalry with the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, two cars whose conversion to all-electric technology is anticipated in the near future.
Apart from the designer’s announcement of releasing the LF-ZC after its debut, many signs point to the FT-Se becoming a reality in the future. Even though plenty of electric vehicles have lately experienced prolonged delays, I am still of the opinion that it is best to waiting for official confirmation. Nevertheless, most hints lead me to believe that Toyota indeed desires to produce the car. Therefore, I firmly express my endorsement; the sports car industry is yet to be tremendously affected by EVs however, anything can happen at some point in time. Furthermore, the FT-Se could be the pioneering product that leads the change.
Reach out to Patrick George at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to get in touch with him.