What’s Up with the Vague Design of These Toyota and Lexus EV Concepts?

A few hours ago, Toyota and Lexus nearly came up with their own virtual auto show. At first, it seemed like we might be in for a standard press briefing, but Toyota Motor Company CEO Akio Toyota sent our jaws to the floor by showcasing no less than 15 Toyota and Lexus EVs preparing to join the all-new bZ4X landing next year (you’ll find the video below). And, as my eyes scanned across the field of show cars, I couldn’t help but place these future battery-powered proposals into two very distant categories: models that feel like they have a strong visual identity fitting their Japanese badges and those that appear vague, as if they came from an anonymous brand trying to make a name for itself.

Before we move deeper into this editorial, I’ll tell you I’m glad Toyota decided to share its EV plans with us. After all, having to mention the company’s lack of a strategy in this field whenever putting its name in the same sentence with “EV” felt a bit odd given that we’re talking about an automaker that qualifies as a hybrid and hydrogen vehicle pioneer.

And I get it, these are not production vehicles, nor are they fully-developed concepts (at least as far as we know right now), while Toyota and Lexus are actually new to the all-electric game. But these arguments still don’t explain why a few of the proposals show the kind of indistinct design identity you wouldn’t expect from the world’s largest carmaker (by sales volume in 2020).

So, without further ado, here are the future concepts that would have me scratching my head if somebody put duct tape over their badges (you’ll be able to identify each of them in the image gallery): Toyota bZ large SUV, Toyota Crossover EV and (sorry, not sorry) Lexus Electric Supercar—no this last one isn’t about the big LFA V10 shoes such an electric successor has to fill, as we’re talking aesthetics here.

I’ll also add the front-end lighting signature of this next-gen design identity here, with examples including the Toyota bZ Small Crossover and the Toyota bZ Compact SUV.

Yes, many of these concepts are just what the (eye) doctor ordered

One might wonder if I haven’t grown too attached to familiar Toyota faces such as the ones displayed on the Compact Cruiser EV or the Pickup EV. And while I do confess to getting a bit weak in the knees when seeing both, especially since the first feels like the electric successor the FJ Cruiser deserves, this isn’t the source of my thoughts.

For one, the Toyota Sports EV, which feels like yet another comeback we’ve been expecting for quite a while, isn’t exactly visually related to the mid-engined MR2 our brain might want to link it to. And yet I love the little athlete!

The urban pod/carrier thingies? This is an area where there’s no such thing as too much experimentation, so the Mico Box, Mid Box, and e-Palette are just fine for me.

Toyota also prepped us for the next wave of its thunderstorm, announcing that it will introduce 30 all-electric models by 2030, predicting that its global BEV sales will reach 3.5 million by the said year. Oh, and expect the Lexus brand to go full electric in China, Europe, and North America until then.

The Lexus statement fits like a glove (minus the regret over the memorable N/A big motors this brand still builds)—this marque has always been about serenity, and what better way to achieve that if not the silence and torque abundance delivered by an electric powertrain?

I just hope the look of each future product will help Toyota stay visually ahead of all the fresh carmakers eager to earn a spot in the gallery.



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