Toyota has big plans for its future electric vehicle lineup, and has made sure the world is aware of that by making multiple announcements in recent months.
The Japanese automaker said earlier this year that it aimed to launch 10 new battery-electric vehicles by 2026, when its annual production of BEVs should hit 1.5 million.
The company previewed more than a dozen Toyota and Lexus EVs in December 2021, but it remains to be seen how many of those concepts will reach production.
According to Japan's Best Car and a recent filing with the USPTO, Toyota may be working on a small electric vehicle – the smallest yet in its bZ series of EVs. In the report from Best Car, it's claimed that Toyota is developing the small EV with Suzuki, a small car specialist that badly needs EVs in its lineup.
The report does not cite a source but notes that Toyota and Suzuki are working hard developing the small electric car with the goal of releasing it in 2025. Best Car estimates the small EV will have a similar size to the 145-inch long Toyota Aygo X that's currently on sale in Europe.
You may recall that among the 15 EV concepts Toyota previewed in late 2021, there was one labeled "small bZ electric crossover," which actually looked a lot like the Aygo X. There's a chance this concept previews the future small EV that Toyota and Suzuki are reportedly collaborating on.
Toyota small bZ electric crossover (first row, center) among the 15 EV concepts previewed in December 2021
Why Suzuki, though? For starters, Toyota and Suzuki have an existing partnership to develop compact EVs, and last year they announced they would solidify it. The two companies are also involved in a joint project to develop a new EV platform for a series of mini electric vans, announced in May 2023.
Suzuki currently lacks EVs in its lineup but previewed its first EV in January 2023 with the eVX crossover concept. The Japanese automaker is the global leader in small cars, with 1.31 million units sold in 2022, according to JATO Dynamics.
Back to the small EV project, it's worth noting that Toyota registered the "FT-3e" name with the USPTO last week, according to a new post on the bZ Forums. The brand has used the "FT" prefix – which is an acronym for Future Toyota – for concept vehicles in the past, which likely means FT-3e is the name of a concept.
You probably recall that in 2017, Toyota unveiled the FT-4X concept, which was said to preview a future compact off-road SUV that Japanese media reports claim will be arriving next year as a mini Land Cruiser.
It's difficult to say what future vehicle the FT-3e concept will preview, but the last letter in the name could hint at it being all-electric. As for the "3" in the name, it may suggest its size, i.e. the fact it's smaller than the Toyota bZ4X.
We'll hopefully learn more about Toyota's FT-3e concept at the Japan Mobility Show that kicks off October 26.