New Mobility Concepts Take Center Stage in Tokyo

‘Smart Mobility’ was the overall theme of this year’s Tokyo motor show. Visitors could experience first hand a variety of new mobility vehicles including the Renault Twizy, Honda’s angular copy, the MC-Beta, and the Toyota iRoad amongst others in a controlled environment.

Of course, Tokyo wouldn’t be Tokyo without some madness.

Kawasaki came to the fore with its J Concept motorcycle, a three-wheeled contraption with a low riding position that appears to be built by Martians, not humans. The concept features two modes — a sports mode and a comfort mode — and is powered by a Gigacell high-capacity nickel-metal hydride battery.

As for four-wheeled mobility, it was Nissan who triumphed with their DeltaWing-inspired BladeGlider concept. This is an answer to a question that nobody has yet asked (except those at the top in Nissan, obviously) – how do we innovate in vehicle type and fast-road driving excitement? Has Nissan got it right? Only time will tell…

If Nissan can sidestep the lawsuit that’s been filed against them (and designer Ben Bowlby) by their original DeltaWing project partners, the company will surely decide to build this incredible machine. And there will be a line a mile long to test drive it and an order book a mile long. Why? Because it’s innovative. And people have a penchant for spaceships.

For now, the BladeGlider looks strange, but that is only perhaps because it’s new. By comparison, Toyota seems determined to show new mobility with the FV2 — which really does answer a question that nobody’s asked — whilst still impressing attendees with their iRoad concept

The strange twist — and perhaps not known by Toyota — was the fact that a production version was shown upstairs in the supplier hall (on the left side of the gallery above). It has translated very well, except for the use of cheap circular lamps and borrowed turn signal units. And it looks more user-friendly and fun than a Twizy.

Daihatsu had the FC Deco Deck and Kopen studies, both Japan-only contenders designed to meet Kei car regulations, and Suzuki tried a four-point attack on competitor’s themes with the Hustler, Crosshiker, iV-4, and X-Lander concepts. Just doing something smaller, doesn’t always make it better.

Whether or not the Tokyo Motor Show is still heralded in the same manner as before may be in question, especially with the rise in other shows of the region, but one thing is clear: Japan still has a lot to offer for the future of mobility and still leads the world in innovation around what is actually a ‘car.’

It isn’t a global show anymore (as proven with protective exclusions of Chinese, Korean and American manufacturers) but it is thinking positively of global solutions for the future.

See more of the concept cars at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show in our photo gallery.


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