Tokyo is show­ing off the de­signs of a smart fu­ture

Ve­hi­cles go elec­tric and do it with real style

Big Rigs - - TOKYO MOTOR SHOW - Kirstin Payne

WHEN it comes to Ja­pan there is al­ways an ex­pec­ta­tion of some­thing a lit­tle weird and won­der­ful.

Tokyo Mo­tor Show 2017 was no dif­fer­ent, pro­vid­ing a ban­quet of techy trends, and a glimpse into the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture for driv­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers alike.

The theme Beyond the Mo­tor fo­cused on the fu­ture of trans­port and the role the in­dus­try has in de­vel­op­ing it.

As is ex­pected of Tokyo, a city of over 13 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and clean op­er­a­tion was a key fo­cus. Elec­tric­ity, au­to­ma­tion and telem­at­ics stood as the three pil­lars of each re­veal.

Even on the press day, the Tokyo Big Sight com­plex was close to im­pos­si­ble to nav­i­gate, as many deal­ers, guest and in­ter­na­tional press corps took in the next leaps in tech.

In the truck­ing world, the pre­sen­ta­tions and re­veals re­mained rel­a­tively mod­est, apart from a ma­jor an­nounce­ment by Mit­subishi Fuso, a con­cept piece from Iszuzu and a sched­uled re­lease from Sca­nia.

How­ever, plenty of tech that could be used to im­prove heavy ve­hi­cle driv­ers’ lives in the fu­ture, was on dis­play.

Toy­ota Boshoku drew a crowd with their con­cept in­te­rior de­sign, dubbed VODY.

The in­te­ri­ors, de­signed around the con­nec­tion be­tween the hu­man and the ve­hi­cle, con­forms to the driver’s and pas­sen­gers’ body.

As a driver stepped into the in­te­rior to be seated, the seat ad­justed to mold around the in­di­vid­ual, sup­port­ing the whole of the spine arch in a very Bat Mo­bile fash­ion.

Lime green bean con­cept car Flesby will ap­peal to the bub­ble wrap kids out there. It was ex­hib­ited by Ja­pan’s auto parts maker Toy­oda Go­sei.

The body of the sin­gle-pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle is formed out of an in­tu­itive rub­ber sys­tem. The mould aims to pro­tect pedes­tri­ans by de­tect­ing an im­pact and cre­at­ing a buf­fer. It also fea­tures soft tex­tured ma­te­ri­als on the out­side of the ve­hi­cle and LED light­ing warn­ing.

Ac­tual rigs on the day were the rigid con­tin­gent – Hino, Iszuzu, UD, Sca­nia and Fuso Mit­subishi.

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles were the ma­jor high­light.

In an ab­stract fash­ion, Isuzu trucks re­leased a hon­ey­combed con­cept ve­hi­cle, which strongly re­sem­bled a high tech mi­crowave on wheels.

Ti­tled the FD-SI, the light-duty de­liv­ery truck was in­spired by the prin­ci­ples of

the in­sect king­dom.

Isuzu says its de­sign­ers fo­cused on the “group in­tel­li­gence” of in­sects and tried to ap­ply that prin­ci­ple to the de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle, which ex­plains it heav­ily hon­ey­combed ex­te­rior.

A de­sign repli­cated in the cargo space as hexag­o­nal tube-shaped boxes, which the au­tomaker says is a good com­pro­mise be­tween strength and stor­age space.

In­side the cab, the driver con­trols and seat have all been cen­tralised, with the steer­ing wheel re­tractable.

Hino ex­hib­ited five ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the new gen­er­a­tion HINO700 se­ries.

The Hino Pon­cho EV, a light duty elec­tric bus model al­ready op­er­at­ing in some Ja­panese cities, fea­tured, as did the Hino500 Se­ries Dakar Rally ve­hi­cle, a show-stop­per.

Sca­nia launched its New Gen­er­a­tion for the first time in Asia. This fol­lows the Euro­pean launch, which took place in Au­gust last year. Un­for­tu­nately, no re­veals on when the gen­er­a­tion will be hit­ting Aus­tralian shores.

In what was the big­gest launch of the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle range, Mit­subishi Fuso gave pun­ters their first look at its all-elec­tric con­cept heavy duty truck, the E-Fuso Vi­sion One, which is out to ri­val Tesla’s of­fer­ings.

Vi­sion One clearly is al­ready out­strip­ping Elon Musk’s Tesla semi, which was de­layed for a sec­ond time last month.

Speak­ing at the event, Marc Llis­tosella, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Mi­tus­bish Fuso, said the ve­hi­cle on dis­play, a B model, proved the com­pany was forg­ing ahead with elec­tric de­vel­op­ment and is much closer to re­lease than would be ex­pected of a con­cept ve­hi­cle.

The E-Fuso Vi­sion One has a range of up to 350km in a sin­gle charge of its 300 kWh bat­tery pack.

The ve­hi­cle also has a pay­load of 11.11 tonnes, which the mak­ers say is a slight change from its diesel coun­ter­part of 1.8 tonnes.

The com­pany also re­vealed the eCan­ter. it’s all elec­tric light duty truck which has al­ready hit the ground with cus­tomers.

So watch this space. Whether you like it or not, man­u­fac­tures are cer­tainly turn­ing to­wards an elec­tric fu­ture. Be sure to check out the next edi­tion of Big Rigs for a look at the new Elec­tric Heavy Duty and what it could mean for the mar­ket.

❝their Mit­subishi Fuso gave pun­ters first look at its all-elec­tric con­cept heavy duty truck, the E-Fuso Vi­sion One which is out to ri­val Tesla.

PHOTOS: KIRSTIN PAYNE

NEXT GEN­ER­A­TION: Sca­nia launches its next gen­er­a­tion in Asia.

GREEN BEAN: A sin­gle pas­sen­ger Flesby con­cept car.

FU­TURE DI­REC­TIONS: Here’s the form.

UL­TI­MATE IN­TE­GRA­TION: Toy­ota Boshoku’s VODY con­cept.

LEFT: Fuso e-Can­ter and the E-Fuso Vi­sion One at the Mit­subishi dis­play.

ABOVE: The shape-shift­ing Isuzu FD-SI turned heads.

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