Tokyo is showing off the designs of a smart future
Vehicles go electric and do it with real style
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.
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.