Toyota’s AI-designed concept previews radical SUV to rival BMW iX electric SUV.
Toyota has previewed its second electric SUV, the FT-3e concept, which paves the way for a radical electric 4×4 touted to introduce a new era for the brand where it will “go beyond providing physical transportation tools”.
Arriving alongside the FT-Se sports car, it will be fully unveiled at the Tokyo motor show on 26 October and preview a sharply styled five-seat 4×4 with a design language unique to the brand’s EVs.
According to Toyota, its eye-catching design has been created with the help of AI and is said to be “as simple as possible”, with clean, aero-optimised lines and a prominent belt line in the same vein as the Land Rover Defender. It will also feature a bumper-width rear light bar, squared-off panelling, and a new design of alloy wheel in the same colour as the bodywork.
Elsewhere outside, digital displays run from the foot of the wheel arch upwards toward the door mirror. These provide the driver with information when they walk up to the car, such as the battery charge state, cabin temperature and air quality. It also gets its own light pattern along the door sills, which is expected to be unique to Toyota’s electric SUVs.
The car’s battery technology will help Toyota to optimise its aerodynamics. The firm said reducing the height of the battery is a key factor for improved efficiency, because this in turn allows for a lower, more aerodynamic design that reduces drag. In today’s bZ4X, the battery is around 150mm tall, but this will be reduced to 120mm for this model.
According to the company, the vehicle has been designed as a “lifestyle parter” to make the driver’s life as “stress-free” as possible, allowing them to adapt the ride quality to their preference and find out information about their local area via the infotainment screen to make it a “one-of-a-kind cherished vehicle”. Over-the-air updates to the infotainment system are expected to feature.
It will also adopt emissions-reducing production techniques and on-board technology in line with Toyota’s plan to cut 35% of its carbon emissions by 2030.
Other details remain scarce, but when it joins Toyota’s range, it will become its second electric SUV after the 2022-launched bZ4X and contribute to the brand’s goal of selling 1.5 million EVs annually by 2026.
Details such as range are still unknown, but the firm is developing a next-generation lithium ion High Performance battery pack offering 1000km of range to replace the Performance battery in the line-up. It will also be 10% cheaper to produce, Toyota said.
The models that will use these batteries – which will account for 1.7 million of the 3.5 million BEVs that Toyota expects to sell globally by 2030 – will also be designed to be lighter and more aerodynamic than the Japanese brand’s already slippery (but heavy) sole BEV in a bid to maximise efficiency.