Will Toyota take on the Ariel Atom with an open-wheel sports car of its own?

Toyota three-seater concept
Industry rumors indicate Toyota is secretly developing a radical new concept inspired by back-to-the-basics machines like the Caterham Seven and the Ariel Atom. The yet-unnamed model will be presented to the public next October at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Likely offered as both a coupe and a roadster, the concept will cut all ties with current members of the Toyota lineup and instead adopt a striking, motorsport-inspired design characterized by a narrow front end, fully exposed suspension arms and wheels tucked under cycle fenders. The show car will offer space for three passengers in a triangular configuration, meaning the driver will sit front and center and two additional passengers will travel on a bench seat mounted just ahead of the rear axle.

The rumored concept is just as fascinating under the skin. Australian website Motoring claims it will be powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain made up of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine borrowed from the Toyota parts bin and a compact electric motor linked to a high-capacity battery pack. Together, the two power sources will send about 100 horsepower to the rear wheels via a CVT.

100 ponies is certainly not much on paper, but it will be plenty in a car that’s expected to tip the scale at no more than 1,550 pounds thanks to the widespread use of carbon fiber. Additionally, the hybrid drivetrain will allow the concept to return up to 117 mpg in a mixed cycle.

Surprisingly, sources close to Toyota have revealed the concept will be given the green light for production if it generates a favorable response from the public and the press.

If launched, it will land in showrooms in about 2018 with a base price of roughly $25,000. It goes without saying that a wild three-seater sports car will not be a volume model, but executives believe halo cars are necessary to recruit the next generation of Toyota drivers and boost the brand’s image.

Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…