This year's Tokyo Motor Show stood as an example of a resurgent automotive industry, with new concepts and technologies on display.
The Tokyo Motor Show is often host to some of the stranger concept cars around. In 2011, we saw some intriguing green concepts from Honda and Toyota, and even more outlandish vehicles from Daihatsu. Toyota and Yamaha also joined forces to show off electric vehicles with less than four wheels, and Honda announced a whole new set of efficient engines and power train components. Volkswagen was even on hand with some intriguing concepts. Here are our stories from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.… Read more
If you've had one too many flats, take a look at these small airless tires that Bridgestone is showing off at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
The Airfree concept tires have resin spokes that radiate from the rim to the tread, curving to the left and right to better support vehicle loads.
They're only 9 inches across, but have been successfully tested on single-seater electric carts in Japan that are often used by elderly people.
While the tire won't suffer punctures, it's also completely recyclable. The spokes are made of thermoplastic resin, which can be reused along with the tread rubber. … Read more
In classic Japanese style, Honda calls its new drivetrain effort Earth Dreams Technology.
Once upon a time, Honda engineers came up with VTEC, a valve control system that made its engines the most advanced in the industry. But that was years ago, and other companies, notably BMW, have pushed the envelope with new valve control, direct-injection, and turbocharging technologies. With each model update it releases, I've been waiting for a similar advance from Honda.
The wait appears to be, mostly, over, as Honda announced a new set of engines, transmissions, hybrid system, and electric drive at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Giving these new drive components the overall moniker of Earth Dreams Technology emphasizes the goal of greater efficiency and Honda's effort to reduce its vehicle's CO2 emissions 30 percent by 2020.… Read more
TOKYO--Japanese automakers are highlighting fuel efficiency and environmental technologies at the Tokyo Motor Show, the first one since the March quake and tsunamis led to power shortages in Japan.
Organizers are expecting some 800,000 visitors when the venue opens to the public on Saturday with 176 brands on display.
In addition to the Toyota Fun-Vii concept, a chameleon that can change its appearance at the touch of an app, the carmaker showed off the Aqua compact hybrid, which it says has the world's best fuel efficiency at 35 km per liter (82 mpg) of gas.
Nissan's Pivo 3, meanwhile, can be summoned by smartphone and can park itself automatically. Its Esflow sports concept, shown off earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show, can do zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in less than five seconds. … Read more
Tesla may be dropping production of its Roadster, but Honda seems to have taken up the gauntlet with this new electric concept.
The EV-STER is a concept electric car unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. Like the Tesla Roadster, it is a two-seater with a carbon fiber body to reduce weight, but that is where the similarities end.
Honda claims a range for the EV-STER of only 100 miles, with acceleration timed at 5 seconds to 60 km/h (37 mph).
Styling takes some cues from the CR-Z, with a big dose of futuristic design thrown in. The driver uses a yoke to steer rather than a wheel, and the cockpit has displays geared toward the electric power train.
The driver's seat is of a different color than the passenger seat, a choice we have seen in a few other concept cars recently, suggesting that in the future people will have trouble discerning right from left.
Although it represents no electric power train breakthroughs, the EV-STER concept is exciting in that it shows Honda is actively exploring new electric vehicle types. The company has already promised to put its Fit EV in production next year.
These electric velocipede concepts are wired to connect to smart grids, smartphones, home network systems, and sharing services.
With populations in urban centers expected to surge over the next few decades, auto manufacturers are looking beyond cars to find ways to mobilize the population without using more fossil fuels. Toyota teamed up with Yamaha to show off a couple of electric bicycle concepts at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. They're not the first companies to tackle e-bikes, but they could be the first companies to show how these non-traditional EVs can be connected to smart grids.
The three-wheeled EC-Miu and the electrically power-assisted Pas With bicycle are designed to work with the Toyota Smart Center, an advanced smart grid energy-management system designed for homes, businesses, and power companies, which means your e-bike will be another appliance you can manage online.… Read more
Lacking the power of the Juke-R, but the Juke Nismo might see production.
Nissan plans to expand its high performance line of vehicles, and it's targeting the crossover market to do it. The auto manufacturer unveiled the Juke Nismo Concept at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, announcing that the crossover could get the green light if it proves popular.
The Nissan Juke Nismo concept is a toned-down version of the Juke-R exercise the manufacturer has been promoting through a series of online videos. While the Juke-R borrows the heart and soul of the GT-R to become a compact SUV … Read more
After seeing the Subaru Concept STI that debuted in Los Angeles, we had a pretty good idea of what the production 2013 Subaru BRZ would look like.
We now have official photographic confirmation. Of course, there are no real surprises. The production BRZ looks nearly identical to the Toyota GT 86 with which it shares a platform. The vehicles are so similar that it takes a side-by-side comparison to tell that the Subaru has a different front grille opening, fender vents that are similar those on the STI concept, and a different wheel and tire package.
Where the Subaru may … Read more
What if changing the color of your car was as simple as tapping an app? Toyota's Fun-Vii concept promises exactly that and more.
The Fun-Vii's skin is actually a massive display that can change its color at will, and display graphics, images, and custom messages for other drivers or bystanders. Toyota gives the visual example of a business using the Fun-Vii to display advertisement livery, but I'd love to be able to quickly throw up a "Back off, chump!" to a tailgater.
The custom graphics aren't limited to the exterior. Toyota also envisions that large interior display surfaces can add augmented reality functionality to the driving experience while allowing the vehicle's interior to be "freely adjustable to match the mood of the moment."… Read more