Tokyo Motor Show: Top 5 most bizarre concepts
From extraterrestrial rock-crawlers and flying cars to interior sandboxes and recyclable bodywork, we count down the strangest machines to feature at the 2023 Tokyo Motor Show.
The world’s biggest car marques brought their A-game to this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, with several exciting previews of not-so-distant future models. But, what happens when the auto giants let their hair down and throw design constraints to the wind? You get oddities like the five stars of this list.
While some are more peculiar than others, all possess a quirkiness that piques our curiosity. So which oddball takes pole position? Read on to find out.
5. Toyota Space Mobility Prototype
As far as ambitions go, it’s harder to set your sights much higher than the final frontier: Space. But that’s exactly what Toyota has done with the Space Mobility Prototype. Designed as a testbed for advancing future ‘drive system technologies’, the electric Space Mobility incorporates a motor on each wheel — allowing it to traverse 50cm boulders and 25-degree slopes.
We don’t know about you, but if we were exploring baren lunar wastelands we’d want our buggy to benefit from trademark Toyota reliability. Afterall, the RAC probably doesn’t cover the dark side of the moon.
4. Honda CI-MEV
Juxtaposed with a moon car, Honda’s CI-MEV concept seems like a bit of a letdown; and styling which reminds us of the now defunct Sinclair C5 doesn’t help the poor Honda’s case. As the saying goes, though, you should never judge a book by its cover.
The CI-MEV offers a compelling mobility solution for those with limited access to public transport. Benefiting from Level 4 autonomy, the little Honda can be hailed by users whenever they need a lift, allowing them to hop on or off at their heart’s content.
It’s even been designed with the environment in mind. An acrylic resin finish means that, when the time comes, it’s easier to recycle than conventionally painted cars.
3. Daihatsu me:MO
The me:MO kicks things off with a curious name, and things only get stranger from there. Daihatsu says the electric city car ‘can be adapted to different stages of life.’ In practice, this means that it has been designed to have various interior and exterior parts added or removed depending (presumably) on the age of the owner’s children.
For example, the wheels and bumper have hundreds of slots where Lego-like pieces can be inserted to create patterns or designs. Meanwhile, the interior can be customised to include a sandbox and toy storage cubby. We imagine this could result in some chaotic scenes in an emergency braking situation, but points to Daihatsu for creativity.
2. Yamaha Tricera
Arresting looks aside, Yamaha’s three-wheeled open-top EV is also the only vehicle we can think of which utilises three-wheel steering. Aimed at delivering maximum driver feedback and control, the Tricera revolves around the theme of Kando: Japanese for the simultaneous feelings of deep satisfaction and intense excitement that we experience when we encounter something of exceptional value.
To achieve this, Yamaha allows users to take manual control of the rear wheel. It’s an interesting idea, and one which could result in shopping trolley levels of maneuverability. Although we hope Yamaha has implemented some system to prevent novices from uncontrollably fishtailing down the road before they get the hang of it.
1. Subaru Air Mobility
It’s all well and good imagining the future of motoring by discussing gearbox types and dashboard layouts, but Subaru has skipped all the trivial details and jumped straight to the good part: flying.
Air Mobility does exactly what it says on the tin, theoretically eliminating the need for roads and all their trappings by soaring above the traffic — a notion which sounds eminently desirable given the congested and pothole-ridden state of British roads.
Reportedly, automotive and aerospace engineers are working in unison to prove the concept with real-world flight demonstrations. And, while some might consider it a pie in the sky idea (if you pardon the pun) for those who dare to dream, there’s a whole world to win.
Are you ready to change your steering wheel for a yoke and take to the skies? It might be possible sooner than you think.
Hero image credit: Subaru