Yet details of the new architecture lay bare just how free Toyota’s hand is in creating models of different shapes and sizes, as it has done in the internal-combustion era, and how truly low sports cars – at 1220mm tall, the FT-Se is 75mm lower than a Porsche 718 Cayman – can be realised.
The new architecture is based on three modular sections: front, centre and rear. Each component (notably the e-axles and HVAC system) that then goes into the hardware of the car has been downsized as much as possible. The structure’s front and rear modules are mirrors of each other, with ‘gigacasting’ construction reducing 86 different steel component parts (that would be welded together now) down to one die-cast aluminium piece.
These house the e-axles and suspension and can be scaled up or down based on a car’s size. The centre module houses the battery, which is integrated into the floor.
The battery pack is new: a ‘Performance’ prismatic battery that doubles the potential range over Toyota’s current bZ4X battery pack for 20% less cost while also being considerably smaller. It is available in two sizes, one as low as 100mm, which helps unlock the potential for lower models, and it can be scaled up and down in size to fit wider- or longer-wheelbase vehicles.
The three modules are then bolted together, and serviceable crash structures are attached onto the modules in a way that minimises repair costs.
Breaking the architecture into these three modules – rather than having one fixed platform with ancillary components – “allows us to be more extreme” with the vehicle types that can be created, according to Shinya Ito, general manager of Lexus Electrified, who has been involved in the development of the new modules.
It also unlocks manufacturing benefits including reduced complexity, greater efficiency and enhanced productivity, ultimately shortening and simplifying the process. Such is the commonality, in theory even the most radically different cars on this architecture could be built on the same production line.