Toyota has been making some pretty exciting cars lately, such as the GR86, Supra, and now the GR Corolla and Yaris, all released in quick succession from one another. Unfortunately, the only car missing from its lineup is a sequel to the MR-2. But that could be changing soon as a recent patent filing discovered by The Drive could be hinting at a hybrid that could compete against the Corvette E-Ray.
Toyota MR-2: A Mid-Engine Corvette E-Ray Fighter
There have been rumors of a new mid-engine MR-2 floating around for a while, but up until recently, there hasn’t been any solid evidence regarding the car. But a patent granted to Toyota and published on May 11 clarifies that something is going on. The patent titled “MONOCOQUE VEHICLE STRUCTURE” was filed in late January 2020. However, the patent doesn’t describe a vehicle but instead the carbon fiber structure and how various parts might be attached. Those parts and where they’re mounted are what raise interest.
The structure in Toyota’s patent is conceptually similar to monocoques built by Lotus or McLaren, which can be configured either as coupes or roadsters. The shaded portion in the diagram is a subframe that houses a battery in the area labeled “32,” and an engine mounted at the back of the subframe. The primary frame and subframe are made from different types of resin binders. This is done to help manage the heat from the engine as the subframe’s resin is weaker but more resistant to heat, while the chassis’ resin is stronger but can’t stand up to scorching temperatures.
The patent also shows an engine at the back with a battery in the middle and the cabin at the front. The document doesn’t mention the word hybrid, but there’s no reason why a dedicated place on a subframe to mount a battery would be added if it wasn’t meant to be one. Plus, this is Toyota we’re talking about, and a large number of their vehicles are hybrids.
This document is hazy for solid evidence that a Toyota MR-2 is in the works; other supporting patents would certainly be nice. However, it’s promising that this patent document isn’t an application but has been granted to the Japanese automaker. Additionally, Toyota recently released a concept that could feature the chassis like what’s in the patent. If the mid-engine MR-2 hybrid is, in fact, on the way, it could give the Corvette E-Ray a run for its money, especially if it features a similar price tag.