This lightweight two-seat EV has just been revealed at the Tokyo auto show.
The small and sleek car shows the versatility of Toyota’s next electric architecture.
Toyota dropped teaser images about an electric sports-car concept last week, and now the FT-Se has been fully unveiled at the Tokyo auto show. Having seen it up close, we can report both that it looks great, but also that—although there is no confirmation of any intent—aside from some outlandish details, it looks to be ready for production.
While Toyota hasn't released technical details, the fact that the FT-Se was unveiled alongside the FT-3e crossover concept indicates the adaptability of the company’s next-generation EV platform. Toyota has confirmed that both cars will share major components.
Toyota has previously said it is working on a new ultra-compact battery architecture, with cells under 100 mm (3.9 inches) in height. The FT-Se's low, sleek lines suggest that it is designed to accommodate these.
The FT-Se is a two-seater that is clearly in the tradition of the lightweight MR2 that was sold across three generations between the 1980s and the early 2000s. We don't have dimensions, but it is low and visually wide, with wheels pushed out to the far corners of its bodywork. The front bumper incorporates sizable apertures for an EV, with more space beneath the rear spoiler with full-width strakes beneath this, which have us thinking of the rear grilles of the Ferrari 512.
There is no doubt that something very like the FT-Se could fit easily into Toyota's portfolio of performance models. The company's previous boss, Akio Toyoda, spoke of his desire for "three brothers," and we see the FT-Se as having strong potential to become the third of these alongside the Supra and GR86, completing that triumvirate.
As befits a sporty Toyota model the FT-Se is shown wearing the GR branding of Toyota's Gazoo Racing performance division.
We haven't been able to see inside the GT-Se yet, but Toyota promises both a new, lower instrument panel and knee pads to protect a driver from high g-forces while driving. Toyota has previously admitted to having built an EV sports-car prototype incorporating a virtual stick shift, and the production version of the GT-Se would seem to be an obvious candidate to give this its debut. (Hyundai has a similar system in the Ioniq 5 N, although that oneuses paddles for its simulated manual ratios rather than an H-gate.)
Presuming the FT-Se does make it to production, it will likely find itself in a well-stocked pond. Porsche is working on an electric next-gen Cayman, Lotus has confirmed it will have an EV replacement for the retired Elise, and Renault subsidiary Alpine is separately working on another lightweight sports-EV.
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