Wacky cars of the Tokyo Motor Show


You can always count on the Japanese to roll out the weird and the wonderful concepts for their home show – and this year they didn't disappoint.

Away from the mainstream model launches at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show, Autoblog managed to hunt down some of the mad visions of Japanese engineers and designers.
Letting these guys loose can, and often is, like letting a four-year-old go wild with a pack of crayons. Most of their creations are about as likely to see the light of day as an albino vampire, but that didn't stop us wanting to know more.

Here's our round up of the most insane.

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Wacky cars of the Tokyo Motor Show
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Wacky cars of the Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota has got more arms than a bowl of octopus soup – and unfortunately the mothership hasn’t kept an eye on what one tentacle has been doing as it’s been able to spawn this monstrosity. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s another “commuter vehicle” (didn’t they used to be called buses?). Anyway, this is an EV (shock) and can carry one person. So it’s a slight, and we repeat slight, step up from a bike.

This Judge Dread ride for 2011 is a collaboration between robot manufacturer Kowa and EV motor manufacturer Tmsuk. Yes, it’s another commuter vehicle with a top speed of 40kph and a range of around 40kms. And just in case you thought it wasn’t weird enough, the robot experts managed to engineer the seat to fold up into itself when parked. Will we ever see on one on the road? Well, when we asked, the press man simply laughed. So assume not.

What can only be described as a sofa with wheels, this mad joy-stick controlled EV concept shows off technology firm NTN’s in-wheel motors. Each wheel turns independently and it can carry two people in living-room-like comfort. We asked to borrow it to transport us around the rest of the show, but for some reason they wouldn’t let us. Range anxiety, perhaps?

Yes, despite being dead in the UK, Daihatsu does still exist. How long for if they decide to put this into production remains unclear. This neon-tastic commuter carrier is said to be a “new type of electric car”. We can only imagine that after looking round the show, the Daihatsu suits realised their idea may not be totally unique after all.

It may look like a suped-up old persons’ shopping trolley, but this is – believe it or not – an EV commuter concept (spotted a theme yet?). The man behind it is said to be a professor who penned it with the help of his students. It boasts a 30km range, which should be just enough to get you far enough away from anyone who knows you, and a max speed of 20kph. No one could explain why it has eight wheels. Greed, possibly.

This concept is said to be inspired by “exciting automobile spaces for a family of four”. It appears by excitement the makers mean working out how to shelter from the rain dripping in through the gaps in the roof. Inside there are computer displays for rear passengers to enjoy – that is until they’ve been short-circuited in a downpour…

This is the third incarnation of the insane Pivo. Nissan design chiefs have already revealed serious modifications would be needed before it could be put into production, so you can ignore its looks. Also ignore the four-wheel steering as that will never make it onto the road either. In fact, ignore it altogether as by the time you see it it’ll probably look more like a baby Leaf.

The love child of a Smeg fridge and an Apple iMac, the FC Case boasts a whopping TV screen, lots of big blue lights and the aerodynamics of a house brick. It’s a zero emissions vehicle powered by fuel cells, but as it’s only a concept they may as well have said it’s powered by pixies on hamster wheels. Oh, and we can’t see that giant wing door being any good in a multi-storey car park either.

Judging by the amount of “commuter” concepts at the show, one would assume the Japanese have got bored of using their always-running-on-time trains (someone should take them to Clapham Junction). This is Honda’s idea of an alternative: An EV that can travel 60km on a charge and hit 60kph in 7.4s. Unfortunately you’ll have to do it in something that looks like a cross between a fridge and a preying mantis.

This ridiculous Satsuma-balanced-on-four-extra-strong-mints design is billed as “an entirely new kind of compact mobility”. The press pack says it’s good for “shopping, transporting children, and going to the doctors”. We can only assume the latter is to get your head checked…

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