Toyota Unveils Three Concepts and One New Production Model
Toyota wants you to find your future
At the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Toyota is talking about the future. That's nothing new for an auto show, but what is new are the cool concepts and one production model that the automaker brought to the stage. The electric GR supercar called the FT-Se got most of the attention, but the FT-3e, Kayoibako, and IMV 0 are just as cool.
"[Electric Cars] are not only eco-friendly, said Toyota CEO Toyota CEO Koji Sato. "Electric cars also offer their own flavor of driving fun and automotive seasoning. And they can deliver diverse experience value. This is our vision for battery EVs. We are making battery EVs like only a true carmaker can."
He said that this means a new look at the basic principles of making cars with the advantages EVs can offer. Things like cars with a low center of gravity and plenty of cabin space. Things he said were not possible before.
Toyota didn't have much to say about the FT-Se. They teased it last week and then the car made its debut at the show. It's a stunner, with mid-engine proportions (though that means little with an EV), great lines, and the promise of light weight.
The FT-Se is meant to show off just how versatile Toyota's new electric architecture will be. Toyota talked about thinner batteries and smaller motors, allowing for a sports car that would look right at home wearing an MR2 badge on the boot.
Toyota's FT-3e has a similar name, but it couldn't be much further from the Se. It's a crossover, boring and practical. It does have a design language that's more Lexus edgy than models we've seen before from Toyota, but it still has clear links to the company's current line. Especially the Prius-like light-bar at the front and the bZ-style floating roof.
One of the party tricks on this one is the side screens on the outside. They tell the driver (or anyone walking by) what the state of charge are, as well as cabin air temperature and some other tidbits of information.
FT in both vehicle names means Future Toyota, though that's not a guarantee of production intent. The 3 in 3e hints that it is smaller than the bZ4X and could fit under that one in the lineup, and we're guessing that the S in FT-Se stands for sports.
Kaiobako, the super-futuristic MPV takes its name from configurable shipping containers Toyota uses in its car plants. The vehicle is meant to bring that same style of configurability to the owner's life.
During the week it can transport cargo. Packages, tools, building supplies, or anything that can fit in the large and boxy rear. On the weekend, it can be transformed into a camper to take you outdoors. said it can promote community mobility - being used as accessible transport - function as a mobile office, or even be a workshop on wheels.
Toyota IMV 0
IMV 0 is headed to production. The modular pickup will launch in Asia very soon, though it's not likely headed to North America.
It's a shame because it's exactly what buyers here want most: A pickup.
Not just any pickup, it's a tiny-sized chassis cab truck that lets owners build it into the truck that they want or need. Toyota suggests converting from transporting produce in the field to a weekend farm stand, or transforming from coffee shop by day into a mobile bar at night.
But the simple flatbed with bolt-on mounting deck could easily be swapped from weekday pickup to weekend mini-RV. It's a Toyota pickup, so overlanding is on the table, and Toyota showed off IMV 0s modeled as emergency response vehicles, espresso bars, and sweet-sweet mini-trucks.
While it's set to launch soon, Toyota didn't say anything about the powertrain. The IMV 0 should be electric, given what else was on the stand, but the model on the stage had what was definitely a fuel filler cap. So this one might end up with multiple drivelines.
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Evan moved from engineering to automotive journalism 10 years ago (it turns out cars are more interesting than fibreglass pipes), but has been following the auto industry for his entire life. Evan is an award-winning automotive writer and photographer and is the current President of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. You'll find him behind his keyboard, behind the wheel, or complaining that tiny sports cars are too small for his XXXL frame.
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