The Future of Cool Mobility

The Future of Cool Mobility
The Future of Cool Mobility

From a surprisingly sexy electric coupe to a motorcycle with artificial intelligence, the 45th Tokyo Motor Show had something for any enthusiast interested in looking years into the future of cool mobility.

Tokyo has turned itself into a techno-centric show. In addition, the Show, which ran until November 5th, showcased the latest concept offerings from Japan’s numerous manufacturers. Here are some of the best on offer from the show.

Mazda Kai Concept
The Vision concept is an extension of the themes started by the RX-Vision concept two years ago, but it is grown and sexy in its own right. Mazda’s Kai is a very believable as what the next-generation Mazda 3 could look like. There is a deceptively long hood and rear-drive proportions, aggressive hunchback profile, and super clean body surfacing. Kai is the antidote to the busy bodywork of Mazda’s domestic rivals.

Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept
Mitsubishi had the audacity to attach the Evo name to an electric vehicle, an SUV no less. Somehow this big-shouldered, tight-hipped, high-beltline, and shallowgreenhouse concept cuts through the clutter. It has one of the more dramatic floating roofs and looks strong and agile. Tech such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence are also destined for future models.

Daihatsu DN Compagno Concept
The coolest car in the show if you are looking for a groovy first car and live in an urban community with tight parking. Surging forward on its haunches like an energetic puppy, the DN Compagno concept has the face of a Volvo, the side profile and roofline of an Audi A3, and the back end like something out of Pininfarina’s 1965 catalog. The instrument displays are digital-modern but housed in a retro framework.

Yamaha Motoroid Concept
The Motoroid concept electric motorcycle has artificial intelligence that can recognize its owner via facial recognition (take that, bike thieves!) It can stand upright on its own without a kickstand and roll forward without its rider from a tightly packed parking space. The bike’s bodywork actively embraces the rider’s waist and chest, and its sensors quickly react to the motions of the rider. Lithium-ion batteries drive a rear-wheel hub motor.

Honda Sports EV Concept
One of the biggest hurdles electric cars have to tackle before they overtake internal combustion cars in the next decade is overcoming the stereotype of EVs being dorky to look at or uninspiring to drive. The low, wide, ’70s-inspired sheetmetal hides a battery pack and an electric motor, with the car’s proportions hinting at rear-wheel drive. Given how good to drive recent Hondas have been, the Sports EV appears promising.

Yamaha Cross Hub Concept
The Tokyo Motor Show is where the wildest concepts see the light of day. This Cross Hub concept is based on a platform of two previous Yamaha concept cars. What’s crazy about the Cross Hub is the packaging and seating layout. Check out the diamond pattern seating configuration and cargo area just large enough to strap down an adult’s motocross bike (and child’s) on the diagonal. Funky? Cool? Yep.

Subaru Viziv Performance Concept
Subaru has a knack of over-promising on design with concepts, only to then drastically under-deliver with the production version—the current WRX is the perfect example of that. Regardless, the Subaru Viziv Performance concept is just so cool. If the next-gen WRX retains even a portion of the Viziv Performance concept’s good looks, it will be in good shape.

Suzuki E-Survivor Concept
The current Jimny is fast approaching its 20th birthday, and the Suzuki E-Survivor concept is a first official peek at what the next-gen Jimny could look like. Ignore the concept’s open cockpit and electric motors, because more importantly the E-Survivor shows that both dimensionally and visually, the next-gen Jimny hasn’t lost the plot.

Mazda Vision Coupe Concept
OK, it’s not a coupe—it’s a four-door sedan. And it’s not Mazda’s normal fare because it is a full-size sedan. Mazda is not teasing a future large flagship sedan; it just wanted the proportions to show what its designers can do and the result is sexy, sinewy, and simply succulent. As a design vision, it is bang on, and the actual production cars it influences will be better for its existence.