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Toyota teases slick electric sports cars in major EV preview

Toyota is preparing to expand its lineup of electric vehicles, but it's not all about mass-market offerings.

Yeah, the future is looking pretty.
Noriaki Mitsubishi/N-Rak Photo Agency/Toyota

Toyota and Lexus have a history of building some of the most interesting sports cars, whether it's the delightfully vintage 2000GT or the engineering marvel that is the LFA. As both OEMs prepare to introduce a whole host of new EVs to their lineup, one thing is clear: Neither is about to abandon the idea of fun.

Toyota and Lexus on Tuesday unveiled a massive lineup of forthcoming electric vehicles. Toyota's upcoming offerings will live under its new "BZ" sub-brand, which stands for "Beyond Zero." We've already seen one proper production model under this new umbrella -- the BZ4X, which will spawn a unique Lexus variant, the RZ, which was teased earlier in December. Lexus' new electric offerings will have its own sub-brand, as well, which Lexus is currently referring to as "Z," so expect to see that letter a lot more often.

We've already given you a rundown of the company's onslaught of cars, in addition to a closer look at some of the funkier SUVs and pickup trucks, but now it's time to focus on sports cars. In the media event that previewed these vehicles, Toyota focused most of its effort on discussing mass-market vehicles, but the group photo gives us a pretty solid preview of a small, yellow sports car that borrows small bits of styling from Toyota's current slate of fun cars, which includes the Supra and GR 86. The yellow concept's proportions are quite small, giving off an almost Lotus-ish vibe, with some impressive running lights wrapping around the front air intakes. The cab-forward design leads me to think that this sports car may have handling characteristics closer to a modern mid-engine machine.

Moving to the Lexus side, we have a bit more information from the automaker itself. "Lexus will develop a next-generation battery EV sports car that inherits the driving taste, or the secret sauce, of the performance cultivated via the development of the LFA," said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, during the media event. According to remarks from Koji Sato, president of Lexus international, estimated acceleration time is in the low 2-second range, while the car is aiming for a total cruising range in excess of 435 miles. Sato also mentioned the "possible" use of solid-state batteries, a technology Toyota has been working hard to bring to market.

That's all we know for now. Toyoda said in his remarks that "most" of the models shown in the preview will be arriving "in the next few years," so we may not have to wait very long to learn more. This is all part of a big push from the automaker to sell 3.5 million battery-electric vehicles each year by 2030. Lexus hopes to have a battery-electric vehicle in every segment within the same time frame, with the added goal of reaching EV-only sales by 2035.

This Lexus sports-car concept looks like the love child of a Lexus and a McLaren, and we are not complaining one bit.

Noriaki Mitsubishi/N-Rak Photo Agency/Toyota