Toyota Will Keep Building Gas-Powered Performance Cars, Racing Boss Says

An all-electric Toyota sports car may not be as close as it seemed as recently as last year.

Tomoya Takahashi, the president of the Japanese automaker’s Gazoo Racing (GR) division, recently told CarExpert that his team will build cars with internal combustion engines as long as possible. He also seems to have no interest in building an EV anytime soon.

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The first half of 2024 has seen several manufacturers, including Aston Martin, back off previously announced plans to go all-electric by the end of the decade. Toyota has made no such pledge, and, if Takahashi’s words are anything to go by, remains as committed to building gas-powered vehicles as ever before.

The Toyota FT-Se Concept in Photos
The electric Toyota FT-Se concept may not go into production as soon as some had hoped

During his conversation with the Australian website, the executive said that Gazoo Racing wants to use ICE powertrains “as much as possible.” He also suggested that his division won’t just continue to use the same gas-powered engines currently in the GR Supra, GR Corolla, and GR86, but will instead pour resources into developing new mills.

“There may be a time in the future when engines are banned, but internal combustion engines aren’t bad, the enemy is carbon,” he told CarExpert. “We are investing in future engines.”

Takahashi isn’t completely opposed to electrification, though. The GR boss said that he saw hybrid technology being used to “reduce carbon emissions” and mentioned wanting to explore the potential of synthetic carbon-neutral fuels. He also acknowledged that while full electrification is likely coming, he’s not sure when that will be.

The executive’s quotes are sure to be well received by the sort of enthusiasts who feel a vehicle must be solely gas-powered to qualify as a sports car. His words will be less of a comfort, as points out, to those intrigued by the battery-powered FT-Se concept that Toyota showed off last fall. That EV, which sports a design heavily indebted to the beloved MR2, was said to feature a dual-motor powertrain potent enough to compete with Porsche’s upcoming electric 718 Cayman. If Takahashi was serious about GR being uninterested in building an EV, that suggests the concept is unlikely to go into production later this decade, as some had hoped.

Fortunately, Takahashi only seemed to be speaking about GR, so the long-rumored LFA successor, known up until now as the “Electrified Sport,” would seem to remain a possibility.

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