Story by Adrian Padeanu
16 Jun 2023
It even has "engine noises" and you can't tell whether it's an EV or ICE.
In December 2021, Toyota held a media briefing to show no fewer than 15 electric vehicles in concept form. Some of them have evolved into road-going models but there’s one that has yet to see the light of production day.
Pictured here, the Sports EV hinted at an electric sports car with a targa top and Gazoo Racing branding. Last month, an updated product roadmap for zero-emission models included a performance vehicle set to arrive by 2026.
With that in mind, it shouldn't come as a big surprise Toyota is already testing an electric GR sports car. Company chairman Akio Toyoda told Autocar he had the opportunity to drive a prototype, but he's not sure whether it's this project that will come to fruition in three years' time. Regardless if it'll be this car or another, the former CEO said it needs to be fun to drive to be worthy of the GR badge even if it lacks a combustion engine.
Interestingly, Toyoda said one of the objectives is to give it a manual gearbox, complete with a clutch pedal. Not only that but the performance EV is also slated to make "engine noises even if you can't smell gasoline." The similarities with a conventionally powered sports car will be so significant that people won't be able to tell whether the vehicle is ICE or EV.
Lest we forget Toyota's luxury division Lexus has also previewed a zero-emission sports car of its own. The Electrified Sport Concept is expected to be an EV successor to the V10-powered LFA and has already been confirmed to get a manual with a third pedal and even a tachometer.
The subsequent production version is going to have steer-by-wire and brake-by-wire systems, along with all-wheel drive, which means one electric motor at the front and another at the rear. With the concept, Lexus promised a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in the low two-second range and a range of over 435 miles (700 kilometers).
Logic tells us the road-going Electrified Sport from Lexus will be far more expensive than Toyota's electric GR sports car, which Toyoda said will look like an EV on the outside. The two Japanese brands have been talking about solid-state batteries for a while and they're more likely to go into the LFA's indirect replacement. By the way, Autocar speculates will cost from £500,000 ($633,000 at current exchange rates), thus making it far more expensive than the LFA's original £350,000 sticker.
At the beginning of the month, newly appointed Toyota CEO and President Koji Sato announced additional GR models are planned. For last weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans, a GR Prius Concept was exhibited, although there’s no word about a production model just yet. Speaking of the endurance race, the GR H2 Racing Concept previews a hydrogen-powered machine that will race on the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2026.
Electric Sports Cars Are Coming:
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