We are entering a very interesting time of development in the automotive industry as petrol and diesel engines finally look to be on their last legs, with hybrid and electric technology impacting heavily in the concept vehicles on show this year at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Beyond any other car show on the planet, the Tokyo Motor Show is a platform for some serious automotive creativity, packed with innovation, technology and style (bad and good!)
Despite not being there I have always found these international car shows provide a good insight into the ideas that may transpose to our road cars over the next few years.
First up is the ‘Nissan Teatro For Dayz’ with the closest thing to normal being all-electric are the suicide doors. A dynamic design that inevitably won’t go to production but caters for the digital age with seats and a steering wheel made of LED screens – which will influence the road cars of the future. The bumper will display the vehicle’s status updates!
Mercedes Vision Tokyo concept was given the name specifically for the show is a vision of the future with Alubeam silver and glowing blue. Claiming the power will be provided by a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell electric charging system that gives zero-emissions and a range of over 600 miles – by today’s standards, doubling that of the Tesla S.
Aside from the futuristic external design, the interior has a dashboard with HUD only instruments and a central driving position and wraparound windscreen. Passengers will be happy, with access to the rear using a single, gullwing hangar door, with a wraparound sofa, and 3D game projected in the middle with widescreen on the inside of the door
Subaru Viziv – The Viziv Future Concept is an SUV that utilises new hybrid powertrain, turbo engine, and reworked version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive – something hardened Subaru fans should be happy to hear.
The Nissan IDS is the next generation of the Leaf, with a 60-kWh battery pack, the IDS is an autonomous concept that represents what Nissan believes next-generation vehicles should be. Speaking at the press conference at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show today, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that, “by combining our EV and autonomous drive technologies, Nissan is moving closer to a zero-emission, zero-fatality future for car transportation.” So, yeah, it’s not the next Leaf, but it is the future.
Mazda RX-9….Rotary! Very excited to see this, and I had no idea Mazda where planning to unveil this incredible prospect at the 2015 TMS. Styling is nothing short of stunning but after Mazda implied the Rotary engine was not going to be reinvented after the RX-8 issues and with the New Honda NSX, potential New Toyota Supra (FT-1) and plans for a new Nissan GTR, for me, this represents the last piece of the puzzle for the sort after Jap/sports/RWD market.
Social media has been abuzz with stories and features about this vehicle, so it’s safe to say it stole the show. The crowd in Tokyo were very excited to see the new concept car – hoping to catch a glimpse of the first concepts for an RX-9. The critical factor in that effort is of course the rotary engine. Mazda says that, while production of the powerplant is “on hold,” the company has “never stopped research and development towards the rotary engine.” Watch this space.
Yamaha, yes Yamaha is producing a concept car – a sports coupe, too. The company isn’t telling us much about the vehicle yet, saying only that it “is inspired by the unique style of Yamaha.” However, this wouldn’t be the first time Yamaha has got involved in the four-wheel market. The company that makes everything from grand pianos to sport bikes revealed its MOTIV.e electric city car in conjunction with Gordon Murray Design at the last Tokyo show two years ago. It has also helped develop a handful of automotive engines, including a V8 for Volvo and the V6 for Ford. It also developed an oddball, tandem-seat called the OX99-11 back in the early 1990s, and supplied F1 engines around the same time. I feel confident they can produce a four-wheel vehicle to be proud of.
Nissan really went to town this year and bought along with them a selection of concepts to the Tokyo Motor Show, but the Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo is by far the most excited and may provide influence for the new GTR.
Toyota unveiled a radical concept, an open-wheel, three-seat sports car concept. It’s estimated to include a 1.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid powertrain inside its nose(!!) driving around 100 horsepower through to the rear wheels. For the best part, using carbon fibre, the concept is expected to be similar to the Mazda MX-5 only with open wheels – similar to a Caterham. If the reaction to it is positive, they may look to go to production by 2017.
Toyota, clearly wishing to stand out in the crowd brought the Toyota Kikai with them, a car which shows the mechanical parts rather than hiding them away – Not dissimilar to an American hot rod. With a central driving position in the front and two rear seats behind. Small windows in the footwells allow the driver to see the workings of the front suspension – although this makes me a little nervous, I’m not sure I’d like to see what happens when you go over a speed bump a little too quickly.
Mitsubishi’s vision of the future comes in the form of the Emirai 3xDAS. With a focus on LCD panels and modern tech in the cockpit rather than the traditional dials we all know and love. The driver can wear a device that alerts them to any hazardous situations and the driver can operate some elements with hand motions rather than buttons and dials. 3D mapping displays information about other nearby vehicles and potential dangers and hazards on the road ahead enabling the driver to avoid collisions. Taking it to the next level, the vehicle has a camera facing the driver, monitoring facial expressions and then sending this information to a cardiograph which affects the car’s responses accordingly.
Aerodynamics help to improve efficiency, and so it’s becoming more and more popular for modern vehicles to use wings, vents, diffusers etc to direct the air flowing around them in motion. Yokohama however are going that extra mile and are thinking of ways to bring that idea to your tires. The Japanese brand’s rubber features fins all the way around, reportedly helping to improve fuel economy.