With fifteen electric concept cars revealed between Toyota and Lexus this week, there was an awful lot to unpack. We’ve already talked at some length about a new Lexus supercar made with some of the LFA’s “secret sauce” as Toyota president Akio Toyoda put it, but there were plenty of other BEVs worthy of our attention. Top of that list was a compact two-seater sports car with GR branding.
Unnamed like all the other vehicles on display, it had the right sort of footprint and the kind of cab-forward silhouette to make us immediately think ‘MR2’. It stands a good chance of going into production, too, with Toyoda pledging to make showroom-ready versions of most of the 15 cars in the next few years.
Furthermore, Toyota’s senior general manager of design Simon Humphries noted in a presentation video that “car fans like Akio Toyoda will certainly not be disappointed,” coinciding with footage of the small sports car. We think that counts as a hint.
As it happens, the company’s gargantuan EV showcase came just days after a report from Japan’s Best Car Web suggested the MR2 was coming back with an internal combustion engine via assistance from Daihatsu and Suzuki. Given what we saw on Tuesday morning, Forbes‘ piece from a few weeks ago about a potential tie-up with Lotus sounds more likely to be the case.
The next Elise, as a reminder, will use a double-stacked ‘chest’ of battery cells mounted transversely behind the cabin. This has two benefits - it’ll give a similar weight distribution to a traditional internal combustion mid-engined sports car, and allow for a lower, sportier shape since the battery doesn’t live in the more typical under-floor space.
Toyota already has a long-standing relationship with Lotus through many years of engine supply, which will continue for a least a little while with the Emira. Plus, the former company is no stranger to creating sports cars out of joint ventures, as shown by the GR Supra and the GT86/GR86.
At the moment, we can only speculate. Toyota may well choose to go it alone for a future MR2 EV, should it indeed happen. When contacted by Car Throttle, a Toyota GB representative declined to provide any information about the individual concepts revealed this week, although we are assured more will be learned “in good time.”