By Steve Laser
Among the new EVs and concepts that Toyota revealed in Japan two years ago was a lifestyle model called the Sports EV (shown below).
This sports car could fit into the lineup between the current GR86 and GR Supra, while becoming an electrified cousin to the departed mid-engine Toyota MR2.
Japan Mobility Show 2023
Toyota has continued to develop the Sports EV concept. The latest version, called FT-Se, premiered at the Japan Mobility Show.
It also gains a new sibling, called FT-3e, that shares major components, while adopting a larger, SUV-style profile. Both are shown above, at Toyota’s JMS press conference.
Toyota says the FT-Se is a high-performance sports BEV model proposed as one of the options for sports cars in the carbon-neutral era, incorporating the expertise gained in Toyota GAZOO Racing’s efforts to make ever-better cars through motorsports.
While the GR86 was co-developed with Subaru, and the GR Supra has BMW roots, it appears that if the FT-Se makes it to production, it will likely be a product of Toyota alone, with the assistance of its TGR track-tuning experts.
With its sporty, wide and low profile, the FT-Se looks like it could make the leap to production with minimal change. And with the electric drivetrain mounted low in the platform, one could envision the possibility of a targa-top model, and perhaps a name change to GR-something.
The FT-Se is 4,380 mm long, 1,895 mm wide, and 1,220 mm high, riding on a 2,650 mm wheelbase. That makes it longer, wider, lower and with a longer wheelbase compared to the GR86 (Euro dimensions: 4,265 L / 1,775 W / 1,310 H / 2,575 WB).
Toyota has not yet revealed specs or features for potential FT-Se drivetrains. A guess would be a single rear-mounted electric motor, with rear-wheel drive, or dual-motor AWD, as a possible option.
This interior photo shows Recaro® bolstered GR bucket seats with grippy upholstery, perhaps a suede style, synthetic material. The color-keyed kneepads are said to be newly designed and help to protect the driver and passenger.
Toyota says the FT-Se has a full-digital cockpit that offers intuitive controls and a more immersive driving experience. With left-hand-drive indicating international market appeal, the driver is treated to a yoke-style steering wheel, plus displays that show a track mode, with lap timer and boost control.
For those who admire the sporty FT-Se, yet seek additional space for passengers and cargo, the FT-3e could be the answer. While Toyota says the two share major components, the FT-3e takes a different route to exterior and interior design.
The front view brings to mind the bZ Large SUV concept that Toyota displayed two years ago in Japan. Yet the FT-3e projects a more sporty character overall, in keeping with its mission as a lifestyle EV and sibling of the FT-Se.
Unique touches include digital displays that run from the lower body side to the upper door. Toyota says these provide information, including battery charge, onboard temperature, and interior air quality, when the driver approaches the car.
The FT-3e is 4,860 mm long, 1,955 mm wide, and 1,595 mm high, riding on a 3,000 mm wheelbase. As expected, it’s larger in every dimension compared to the FT-Se. And it’s surprisingly longer, wider, lower, and has a longer wheelbase than the production Toyota bZ4X (Euro dimensions: 4,690 L / 1,860 W / 1,650 H / 2,850 WB).
Toyota says that alongside the highly responsive controls and captivating designs unique to BEVs, these models [FT-3e and FT-Se] evolve into one-of-a-kind cherished vehicles by offering the joy of personal ride customization, as well as convenient functions for stress-free browsing of local area information while onboard.
The FT-3e interior has a more conventional look than its sportier sibling (it has a circular steering wheel). Yet it delivers futuristic designs, with digital displays for exterior and interior mirrors, a large TFT cluster, wide center display, and details like touch-control shifting.
This view offers a different angle on the interior, highlighting the sporty front seat design, floating-style instrument panel, and interesting use of materials, with dashtop trim made of a material that looks like bamboo.
Toyota Displays at the Japan Mobility Show 2023
The theme for Toyota’s exhibit at the first Japan Mobility Show is, “Let’s Change the Future of Cars – Find Your Future.” Display models include:
- Land Cruiser Se BEV
- EPU BEV pickup concept
- FT-3e BEV SUV-type concept
- FT-Se BEV high-performance sports concept
- KAYOIBAKO BEV compact space concept
- IMV 0 BEV mobility solution concept
- Land Hopper three-wheel BEV personal mobility concept
- NEO Steer cockpit concept
The new Japan Mobility Show 2023 replaces, and goes beyond the scope, of the long-running Tokyo Motor Show. General public days are scheduled for Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, at Tokyo Big Sight, in the Ariake district of Koto-ku.
Note: Display models are subject to change without notice
News source and photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Corp.
Story (commentary) © 2023 CarNichiWa.com