Tokyo — Toyota Motor Corp. had an electric vehicle plan. And now it has the cars.
Japan's biggest carmaker, seeking to shed its image as an EV laggard, has pulled the veil on six edgy concepts that foreshadow a wave of battery-powered Toyota vehicles arriving before 2025.
Key elements of Toyota's new EV family look, called EV-e, include long wheelbases, spacious interiors, camera mirrors and ventilated front corners with automated driving sensors. While the company just has sculpted models for now, don't be surprised if future cars use plastics strategically thorughout those new vehicles.
Designers have been working on this visual language since 2016, global design chief Simon Humphries told Automotive News on the sidelines of the company's EV strategy briefing this month. Automotive News is a sister publication of Plastics News.
"These are new ways to try to find an identity for this," Humphries said of the EV lineup's look.
The display of life-sized clay concepts, in earthy gold and bronze hues, is the clearest sign yet of what Toyota envisions for the more than 10 EVs it plans to launch in the early 2020s.
Some of those vehicles, such as the electric C-HR subcompact crossover going on sale next year in China, will be battery-powered versions of existing nameplates.
But Toyota plans a host of other EVs that will ride on a newly developed dedicated EV platform called e-TNGA, a play on the company's Toyota New Global Architecture modular platform that the carmaker has been rolling out in recent years.
The new EV platform will be able to accommodate everything from a three-row SUV or a sporty sedan to a small crossover or a boxy compact, Humphries said.
"We're making a new platform for the car and trying to make a new experience for the people who buy it," Humphries said. "This gives you a good idea of the platform's capability."
Toyota's new EV platform will bring a lot of changes to the look and feel of upcoming vehicles.
In the front, Toyota ditches the grille and turns to creative slits to ventilate the electric motor.
Toyota's styling today, called "under priority," uses a big, low grille for a more planted look.
The new face, called the "interlock grille," tries to mesh the upper and lower elements.