At the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota opted for a very different approach with their displays. Not one “soon-to-be-launched” concept was displayed at their booth, but for good reason.
While the likes of the stunning new Mirai FCEV still made its appearance, Toyota placed more emphasis on mobility for the considerable future, as opposed to the next couple years.
Take the e-Palette for example that’s scheduled for debut at next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games. As a major sponsor for one of the biggest sporting events on Earth, it’s one of Toyota’s innovative solutions to ferry Olympians and Paralympians around the Olympic village.
Designed with a long 4,000 mm wheelbase and distinctive cube shape, the e-Pallete is capable of accommodating up to four wheel chairs along with seven standing passengers. Discounting the wheelchairs, the e-Pallete is capable of accommodating 20 passengers.
Although accompanied by an operator that can assume control anytime, the e-Pallete is equipped with Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities, a 150 km driving range with a top speed of 20 km/h.
“In the future, the e-Palette will be able to be an office, a shop, or even a hotel. It will be able to become various kinds of services and it will go to people,” said Toyota Motor Corporation, President, Akio Toyoda.
Citing that there’s no need for concern that cars will end up not being owned, Toyoda instead claimed that “shared mobility will lead to people to own cars that are more personal”.
Following this, Toyoda sparked the idea that in the future, everyone’s garages will be occupied by only sports cars as he pointed to the e-Racer.
“Wanting to go faster and further are universal human desires. The birth of the automobile led to 15 million horses being replaced by cars in the United States. Yet, we have racehorses,” said Toyoda.
“Horses can communicate with people and their hearts,” he added.
Point is, when cars replaced horses, people still rode them for fun and races. With vehicles like the e-Pallete, acting as white goods and replacing the need for day-to-day driving with artificial intelligence and autonomous capabilities, Toyoda believes that cars of the future can still be fun.
Referring to the exciting e-Racer whose specifications still remain unknown Toyoda said such vehicles can solely focus on being fun; allowing drivers to better enjoy the journey from A to B.