Toyota imagines the futuristic Land Cruiser EV it won’t sell you

Toyota is on a roll with EV concepts at this year’s Japan Mobility Show, and the latest has to be among the highest on its customer request list: an electrified Land Cruiser SUV. The Land Cruiser Se concept is as straightforward a look into what a BEV version of the iconic off-roader might look like as Toyota has ever given, and it’s nice!

The concept images do look quite rudimentary, though. The lines are clean to the point you might call them “sketched,” and it’s not even clear how the rear doors open (there are no immediately visible door pulls). In fact, this thing doesn’t even look like a Land Cruiser if you ask me. The silhouette of this battery-powered trail daddy (yeah, I said it) is still pretty utilitarian — the hood on this thing is enormous. Hopefully, Toyota’s imaginary electric SUV has a frunk as deep as the skepticism you should bring to the notion the company will be selling anything like this any time soon.

The only real technical detail Toyota even offers about the Land Cruiser Se is that it uses a “monocoque body” — which sounds very expensive for a mass-market three-row SUV. But the term itself is vague enough that it’s impossible to know what Toyota really means by it in the first place. (Is it a true tub chassis, or does Toyota mean something else?)

There’s no look at the inside of the Land Cruiser Se, which is probably the biggest giveaway that this is a very early concept (maybe Toyota will surprise with a full interior on the show floor, though). But it’s fun to dream, right?

I think what’s most interesting about this design is how little it resembles the next-generation ICE Land Cruiser. Like at all. That vehicle is unforgivingly boxy and clearly pulls on the retro-nostalgia heartstrings of buyers. This electric concept is from a completely different design school that pays zero homage to the heritage of the badge — which is by no means a bad thing. This concept, if perhaps unrealistically spartan, asks what the Land Cruiser of the future looks like. And that’s what a concept should do, right?

But given the philosophical and aesthetic distance between the Land Cruiser of the now and the electric Land Cruiser envisioned here, that says to me that we really are just looking at one possible future, presumably among many.

You can check out the press release (which includes several other, less exciting concepts) here.

Electrek’s Take

Toyota has so many EV concepts at this point that it’s difficult to keep track of just what the brand’s latest vision for electrification is. Meanwhile, it has just a couple EVs actually on sale. It’s clear that there’s an intention at Toyota to move toward a BEV future, but concepts like the Land Cruiser Se may do more to confuse customers than inspire them about the brand’s direction.

An electrified Land Cruiser, of course, makes total sense. It seems inevitable that Toyota will build one. The question is when? While cool, this concept does nothing to answer that.

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