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Toyota will build fun cars with gas engines until ICE is banned

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Toyota will build fun cars with gas engines until ICE is banned


Toyota has avoided launching performance electric models because it has bigger fish to fry. Gazoo Racing, the motorsport and sports car arm of the company, believes that combustion engines still have a bright future. Investments are still underway in ICE technology that will be aimed at future models beyond the GR86, GR Yaris, GR Corolla and GR Supra.

Talk with an Australian magazine Automotive expert, Toyota Gazoo Racing president Tomoya Takahashi said there are no plans for a high-performance electric vehicle. He added that GR intended “to use internal combustion engines as much as possible. There may be a time in the future when engines are banned, but internal combustion engines are not bad, the enemy is carbon.”

While purists are probably happy to hear this, we can’t help but wonder if the fate of the FT-Se isn’t already sealed. The concept car sent MR2 vibes when it premiered in October 2023 at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo. It was a GR-branded sports car with two seats, two engines and all-wheel drive with a rear-facing layout. The attractive electric vehicle with mid-engine proportions was touted as having a 0-62 mph sprint in three seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

In an interview with our sister site Inside electric vehicles, Hideaki Iida, project manager of GR Design Group, said that the FT-Se could go into production after 2026. We are not giving up hope just yet, but it seems that Toyota is more interested in rolling out fun cars with ICE Power. Having both gas and electric GR models on sale would be a win-win situation.

Even though gasoline engines are here to stay and pure electric vehicles won’t be around anytime soon, a combination of the two is likely: “By using hybrid technology, we can reduce carbon emissions,” according to Takahashi. He also didn’t rule out synthetic fuels, and we know Toyota continues to research combustion engines that run on hydrogen.

In the meantime, what is GR doing these days? A high-performance SUV is apparently a necessity and there could also be an automatic-equipped GR Corolla. Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus has packed the small but powerful 1.6-liter three-cylinder turbo engine from the hot hatch into an LBZ concept that it intends to put into production soon. The small crossover is expected to have the same 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, but will not be sold in the United States.

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