Three Toyota Concept Cars that Prove the Future is Now
The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off later this month, bringing with it the debut of some simply staggering motor vehicles. I dare say few will be as enchanting or as disparate as the three concepts that Toyota will unveil.
As you can see, the concepts run the gambit from the hotrod Kei car from a dystopian future to an eco-friendly pod-car to a vintage-y compact sports coupe. Clearly, there's something for everyone.
Let's start with that silver little number that could have been ripped from a scene of the Bruce Willis film The Fifth Element.
Dubbed "Kikai," the car was designed to emphasize the aesthetic of automotive mechanicals, finding beauty in the bits that are normally hidden away under sheet metal. Note the top-mounted control arms and visible rear suspension springs.
Mechanical visibility doesn't end when you climb inside the cabin, however, as there's a small window at the driver's feet. This makes a theatrical show of the movement of the tires, suspension and road below. Designers bolted the driver's seat in the middle of the car, putting the driver at the literal center of the driving experience.
In the rear, there's room for three passengers in a V-formation.
Taking a swing in the opposite direction, we have the FCV Plus, which is a hydrogen fuel cell-powered concept. With a hydrogen fuel cell stack — the unit that transforms hydrogen into electricity — in between the two front wheels and the hydrogen tank located behind the rear wheel, the cabin is surprisingly spacious, given its compact stature. This is because each of the four wheels includes its own electric motor, which means there are no bulky drive axles to get in the way of interior legroom.
While a plethora of cabin space is enjoyable, the truly exciting bit about the FCV Plus is its ability to easily swap from mode of transport to community power generator. When hooked up to an outside hydrogen line, the car can generate electricity that can feed not only the owner's home but also send power back into the public grid. Who wouldn't mind a car that could pay for itself in energy savings?
Lastly, we have the most conventional of the three: a compact sports car called the S-FR. For those keeping track at home, that's an anagram of the FR-S sports car sold here in the U.S. as a Scion.
The name is more than a nod to the current Scion coupe, it is a code for the car's layout. the 'FR' portion stands for 'front engine/rear-wheel drive.' And 'S,' that's probably just for 'sporty.' Though Toyota doesn't spell out the S-FR's powertrain, it does say it has a six-speed manual transmission that offers smooth acceleration. That, added to its lightweight and compact form, accentuates the fun-to-drive mentality of the machine.
Toyota says the roundness of the body inspires a feeling of closeness for occupants and brings human and machine closer together. While that is all well and good, what I think of when I look at the S-FR is the Opel GT from the 1970s, which is a very good image to conjure, if you ask me.
The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off Oct. 28 and with it will come tons of wacky cars and personal mobility machines. So be sure to check back for more later this month.
This article originally appeared on Mashable.