In December 2021, Toyota revealed more than a dozen electric vehicle concepts from the Toyota and Lexus brands as it pledged to spend up to $35 billion on its EV lineup through 2030.
One of these EV concepts was dubbed the Small SU EV and was not part of the initial bZ (Beyond Zero) lineup of EVs. Despite that, Toyota appears to have already started testing a prototype based on the Small SU EV in Europe.
As these spy shots taken at Toyota’s European design center show, the prototype looks very similar to the Small SU EV Concept, despite the heavy camouflage. The problem is it also resembles the Toyota C-HR Prologue very closely.
That would explain the slight changes made to the design, the most obvious being the different lower bumper intake sporting a honeycomb pattern and integrated fog lights.
Compared to the Small SU EV concept’s aluminum-style insert with small openings, this change sticks out and may hint at the presence of a combustion engine under the hood as part of an electrified powertrain – the C-HR will be a plug-in hybrid. This prototype also appears to feature a tailpipe under the rear fascia.
That’s not a big stretch seeing as the Small SU EV production model – it will likely have a different name – is expected to sit on Toyota’s upcoming E3 architecture that will combine elements from the current GA-C (C-HR, Corolla) and eTNGA (bZ4X) platforms, therefore making it compatible with plug-in hybrid and all-electric powertrains.
Developed exclusively for Europe, the E3 platform will also be used by the next generation of the Toyota C-HR – previewed by the C-HR Prologue last month – that is expected to debut this year. Given that the Small SU EV concept does share striking similarities to the bold C-HR Prologue (see them both in the photos below), it’s not entirely out of the question that we’re actually looking at the new Toyota C-HR.
That being said, Toyota has several new EVs in the pipeline for the European market, including the Small bZ Crossover and the larger bZ Compact SUV concept unveiled at the 2022 LA Auto Show. The bZ3 sedan, bZ Large SUV, and possibly an electric pickup are also tipped to debut in Europe by 2026.
Toyota Small SU EV Concept
Toyota C-HR Prologue Concept