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While Toyota has been slow to adopt EVs, it seems that the wait will be worth it. Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda has revealed to Autocar that the company is currently working on an electric sports car prototype under its Gazoo Racing performance division, and its main goal is to match GR's gas-powered cars as closely as possible.


"The starting point is not what powertrain the car has, but how fun it is to drive regardless of that powertrain," said Toyoda. "I actually had the opportunity to test drive a BEV GR we are working on recently. I don’t know if that car will make it onto the market yet, but the first priority of making these kinds of cars is that they need to be fun to drive, no matter what powertrain they use."


Toyota Is Working On An Electric Sports Car With A Manual

Toyoda then referred to some of the prototype's internal-combustion-like features, which suggests that it will feel nothing like a typical EV. "The biggest difference to other BEVs we are developing is that, when you are in the GR BEV, you can actually hear the engine noises, even if you can’t smell gasoline,” said Toyoda. “There is also a manual transmission and also a clutch. If you put someone in the car and asked them to drive it and guess the powertrain, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you."


It's possible that this prototype is inspired by Toyota's Sports EV concept, which was shown alongside 14 other EV concepts back in 2021. The small sports car featured a targa top and GR badging, though Toyota never went into full detail about that partcular concept. The company also showed off a new EV product roadmap last month, which included an all-electric performance car slated for a 2026 launch.


The fact that Toyoda pointed out a manual transmission also suggests that a Lexus counterpart might be on the agenda as well, as the company announced last year that it was developing a manual transmission specifically for EVs. It's also worth noting that Lexus did in fact confirm a production followup to its own Electrified Sport Concept, featuring three pedals, a tachometer, and all-wheel drive. However, the Lexus EV might be much more expensive than the Toyota GR version.


Toyoda went on to emphasize that this vehicle is simply a prototype for now, and it's serving as a way to preview the brand's capabilites when it comes to EVs. "Whether it makes it to the market or not, what the company is trying to do is explore the idea of what it is that we shouldn’t lose in a car even if it becomes BEV," he said. "I can proudly say that this is an example of how Toyota has changed into a company where members can look into an idea that sounds interesting, create a car from their ideas and then show it for test drives."


Would a manual and engine noises get you interested in an EV?

Image Credits: Toyota
Report
Jun 15, 2023
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Toyota Is Working On An Electric Sports Car With A Manual

The prototype also features engine noises, just like a gas-powered car.

While Toyota has been slow to adopt EVs, it seems that the wait will be worth it. Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda has revealed to Autocar that the company is currently working on an electric sports car prototype under its Gazoo Racing performance division, and its main goal is to match GR's gas-powered cars as closely as possible.


"The starting point is not what powertrain the car has, but how fun it is to drive regardless of that powertrain," said Toyoda. "I actually had the opportunity to test drive a BEV GR we are working on recently. I don’t know if that car will make it onto the market yet, but the first priority of making these kinds of cars is that they need to be fun to drive, no matter what powertrain they use."


Toyota Is Working On An Electric Sports Car With A Manual

Toyoda then referred to some of the prototype's internal-combustion-like features, which suggests that it will feel nothing like a typical EV. "The biggest difference to other BEVs we are developing is that, when you are in the GR BEV, you can actually hear the engine noises, even if you can’t smell gasoline,” said Toyoda. “There is also a manual transmission and also a clutch. If you put someone in the car and asked them to drive it and guess the powertrain, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you."


It's possible that this prototype is inspired by Toyota's Sports EV concept, which was shown alongside 14 other EV concepts back in 2021. The small sports car featured a targa top and GR badging, though Toyota never went into full detail about that partcular concept. The company also showed off a new EV product roadmap last month, which included an all-electric performance car slated for a 2026 launch.


The fact that Toyoda pointed out a manual transmission also suggests that a Lexus counterpart might be on the agenda as well, as the company announced last year that it was developing a manual transmission specifically for EVs. It's also worth noting that Lexus did in fact confirm a production followup to its own Electrified Sport Concept, featuring three pedals, a tachometer, and all-wheel drive. However, the Lexus EV might be much more expensive than the Toyota GR version.


Toyoda went on to emphasize that this vehicle is simply a prototype for now, and it's serving as a way to preview the brand's capabilites when it comes to EVs. "Whether it makes it to the market or not, what the company is trying to do is explore the idea of what it is that we shouldn’t lose in a car even if it becomes BEV," he said. "I can proudly say that this is an example of how Toyota has changed into a company where members can look into an idea that sounds interesting, create a car from their ideas and then show it for test drives."


Would a manual and engine noises get you interested in an EV?

Image Credits: Toyota

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Toyota Is Working On An Electric Sports Car With A Manual

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