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Tokyo 2023: Toyota Debuts FT-Se, FT-3e and EPU Concepts

The Toyota FT-Se and Toyota FT-3e concepts at the Tokyo show
Photo: Toyota
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Derek Boshouwers
The Toyota stage was crowded with three brand-new concepts as well as the Land Cruiser Se

Toyota rolled out a small army of new concepts at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo yesterday, all of which are very good bets to make it the production stage. Which markets may get the final versions of the Toyota FT-Se sports car, Toyota FT-3e crossover or Toyota EPU pickup is another matter, but that’s for another day.

Toyota FT-Se concept
Toyota FT-Se concept
Photo: Toyota

Toyota FT-Se

The awkward collection of letters (still better than the atrociously named bZ4X in our book) actually stands for something: Future Toyota – Sports electric. 

The sporty concept car is officially intended to showcase the potential direction Toyota is taking for future designs, and it’s not “officially” slated for production. But like the other Toyota vehicles on the stage in Tokyo this year, this seems quite close to production-ready. 

New Toyota FT-Se concept unveiled
New Toyota FT-Se concept unveiled
Photo: Toyota

The FT-Se is similar in overall design to the current GR Supra, only it’s all-electric. Toyota hasn't shared more information about the powertrain. We can maybe guess at an AWD configuration, based on the position of the concept’s wheels at its corners. But for now, all we have to go on are the images. 

Recall that former Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda was clear that he felt the lineup needed a third sports car to join the GR86 and GR Supra. It’s not entirely sure that’s still at the top of Toyota’s to-do list, but then again, here we have this concept centre stage in Tokyo.

Certainly, a production FT-Se as a new flagship sporty EV would allow Toyota to make a strong statement as the electric era rolls inexorably in.

Toyota FT-3e concept
Toyota FT-3e concept
Photo: Toyota

Toyota FT-3e

The FT-3e is a much more down-to-earth creature, in fact it’s a new sibling for the bZ4X EV. That said, Toyota says the electric crossover concept does share components with the FT-Se. Again, no detailed technical specifications were disclosed. 

The all-new Toyota FT-3e concept
The all-new Toyota FT-3e concept
Photo: Toyota

With a fully enclosed grille and a sleek light bar, the FT-3e like the bZ4X carries a mildly sporty look, and you can the occasional bit found also on the Land Cruiser Se concept. Further back, the FT-3e has sculpted bodywork and flush door handles and up top, a floating roof and blacked-out rear pillar. An interesting feature of this concept is the inclusion of exterior displays, providing battery information and cabin temperature at a glance. The rear design is angular with a vehicle-spanning LED light bar and a two-tone bumper.

Inside the FT-3e, Toyota went for a minimalist interior design. A single-spoke steering wheel is flanked by three displays, always with an eye to simplicity and functionality.

Toyota hasn’t confirmed whether this concept will see production, but we’d be pretty surprised if it doesn’t – and it might not take all that long either. Another thing that’s unclear is which segment this SUV will fit into, size-wise. Indications are it’s larger than the bZ4X, however.

Toyota EPU concept
Toyota EPU concept
Photo: Toyota

Toyota EPU

This EPU (Electric Pickup) is all-electric but sized more like Ford’s Maverick than its big F-150 Lightning. Toyota here again maintains this is just a concept, with no guarantee of a production model to come. But this model looks pretty well-developed, and the road to a production model wouldn’t be long.

Three elements Toyota focused on during the conception of the EPU:

 
Toyota EPU concept interior
Toyota EPU concept interior
Photo: Toyota

Interior space – An all-electric format opens up greater possibilities for the interior, and so the cabin’s space for humans and their gear is maximized.

Introducing the Toyota EPU concept
Introducing the Toyota EPU concept
Photo: Toyota

Smaller size – This is smaller than the Tacoma and aims at a different clientele, Toyota says. The design of the hood is intended to make driving and parking in urban and suburban areas easier and safer.

The all-new Toyota EPU concept
The all-new Toyota EPU concept
Photo: Toyota

Practicality in back – At the same, Toyota wants folks to be able to haul stuff with this pickup. And so there’s an opening from the cabin to the bed for transporting longer items, while the 4.5-ft bed can be stretched to 6 feet with the midgate down, and even to 8 feet with the tailgate folded down.

Note that the model has a unibody construction, like the Maverick and Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, and the bigger Honda Ridgeline.

As for if/when this might actually become a real, live truck, Toyota is fairly open about this being a trial balloon. Reaction to it will influence whether the automaker greenlights the project. But it’s obvious to everyone that right now there are no smaller, more human-scaled, more affordable alternatives in the EV pickup world to the big guys offered by Rivian, Ford and soon (at least, eventually) Ram, Chevrolet and GMC.

Exterior design of the Toyota EPU concept
Exterior design of the Toyota EPU concept
Photo: Toyota
Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists