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Toyota Will Build Fun Cars with Gas Engines Until ICE Is Banned

Toyota has steered clear of launching electric performance models because it has bigger fish to fry. The company’s motorsport and sports car arm Gazoo Racing believes combustion engines still have a bright future. Investments are still being made in ICE technology that will go into future models beyond the GR86, GR Yaris, GR Corolla, and GR Supra.

Speaking with Australian magazine Car Expert, Toyota Gazoo Racing president Tomoya Takahashi said there aren’t any plans for a performance EV. He went on to say GR intends “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 aren’t bad, the enemy is carbon.”

While purists are likely happy to hear that, we can’t help but wonder whether the fate of the FT-Se has already been 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, dual motors, and all-wheel drive with a rear-biased setup. The attractive EV with mid-engine proportions was touted as having a 0 to 62 mph sprint in three seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

In an interview with our sister site InsideEVs, Hideaki Iida, the project manager for the GR Design Group, said the FT-Se might make it to production after 2026. We’re not giving up hope just yet, but it looks like Toyota is more interested in rolling out fun cars with ICE power. Having gas and electric GR models on sale would be a win-win situation.

While gas engines are here to stay and pure EVs aren’t happening 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 is still pursuing combustion engines that run on hydrogen.

Meanwhile, what is GR up to these days? A performance SUV is apparently a necessity and there might also be an automatic-equipped GR Corolla. Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus put the tiny but mighty three-cylinder 1.6-liter turbo engine from the hot hatch into an LBZ concept it intends to put into production soon. The small crossover is expected to have the same 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque but won’t come to the United States.

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