Toyota is to reveal its first fully electric, battery powered sports-utility vehicle in 2021, the manufacturer teased. It is keeping most other details secret, though. We do not know the vehicle’s name, for example. Or its range per-charge. Or how powerful it is. Or how quickly it recharges. Or even what it costs.
What we do know
Toyota has revealed enough information to entice potential customers, though. Most striking is a white line drawing – on a dark blue background – that suggests this sports-utility vehicle has a striking look. It appears to be tall, muscular, and to have sharp contours at the sides and rear. Furthermore, this vehicle is:
- about the size of a Toyota RAV4 (medium size)
- pure electric only (no hybrid, petrol, or diesel)
- being ‘readied’ for production now
- to be mass produced at the ZEV Factory, in Japan
- the trailblazer for several electric vehicles
- to be sold globally but have a European vibe.
There is a little more information, too. This sports-utility vehicle sits on the e-TNGA platform (Electric Toyota New Global Architecture). This is far more interesting than it initially sounds. The platform is a structure that can be used in multiple vehicles to minimise cost. It therefore has several fixed characteristics whatever the car. For example, the position of the:
- front electric motor
- rear electric motor
- various components under the bonnet
- driver relative to the front wheels
- and the width of the battery for any motor.
In contrast, some platform traits can be adjusted to suit the particular vehicle it is supporting. The wheelbase, for example. The e-TNGA can also support: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, various batteries, and a range of electric motors.
‘The basic architecture principle is that a number of key elements remain fixed while others can vary’, the motor manufacturer confirmed. ‘This approach allows variance in vehicle width, length, wheelbase, and height. By using this versatile approach, the development time for different product variants can be reduced and individual models can be developed in parallel’, Toyota emphasised.
The e-TNGA is likely to support a wide range of vehicles throughout its lifetime. Rumours suggest they include a: small crossover, medium crossover, big sports-utility, saloon, and a multi-purpose vehicle. The platform is also likely to span multiple brands. Why? Because car companies often share components to cut costs. Motorists must now wait with baited breath for further information.