Among the concept cars on display at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, a substantial number run off of electricity. Some, such as the Suzuki Pixy and the Nissan Pivo2, are a little outlandish. But many represent very serious efforts on the part of automakers to develop a successful and practical zero-emission vehicle. Both the Mitsubishi i MiEV Sport and the Subaru G4e look like they are ready for the road.
At the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, Suzuki showed off the Kizashi concept, and, frankly, we weren't too thrilled. We weren't sure why Suzuki was building something that looked like a Dodge Magnum. But at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, Suzuki revealed the Kizashi 2, indicating that it's serious about building bigger cars. Suzuki has had success building smaller cars and SUVs, but now it wants to stretch its proverbial wings, competing in new segments. The Kizashi concepts show Suzuki's direction in this area--big, gaudy, and brawny wagons.
After examining the Kizashi 2, we give in. Suzuki … Read more
With a lot of sleek Yamaha concepts on display at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, Bobby stood out for its awkward look. This electric scooter is designed for commuters. It's not much smaller when folded up, but Yamaha points out that it can be more easily stowed in the trunk of a car or kept on a balcony. OK, we'll buy that. Bobby incorporates an RFID reader, so you can use a cell phone equipped with a Sony FeliCa chip as a key. The future is sounding weirder and weirder.
One of the pleasures of the Tokyo auto show is seeing technologies from automotive equipment makers that haven't made it into any current models. This is the stuff that might appear on cars of the future. We saw numerous displays from different companies about how different colored LEDs can be used for exterior and signal lighting on a car. One equipment maker, Koito, had an interesting concept with an LED string framing the headlight housing. The LEDs in this string could flash yellow, working as a turn indicator, or they could turn blue and stay on for night driving. … Read more
Lotus brings back a legendary name with the Lotus 2 Eleven on display at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. The original Lotus Eleven was built from 1956 to 1958, and competed successfully in many races of that era. The new generation 2 Eleven is based on the Exige S, getting its suspension and 1.8-liter supercharged and intercooled engine. But Lotus manages to squeeze 16 percent more power out of it, upping horsepower to about 255 at its top engine speed of 8,000RPM. The 2 Eleven is currently Lotus' most powerful car, and it gets from 0 to 62 … Read more
Single-person wheeled vehicles look like the stuff of science fiction, but Toyota and Suzuki showed off a few concepts at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. They tend to have a futuristic look and electric drive, but we're not entirely sure what problem they are supposed to solve. Just as the Segway become more novelty than necessity, we can't imagine future thoroughfares jam-packed with people commuting in the vehicles. Still, they look like they would be fun to drive.
Mitsubishi's I Miev Sport incorporates an amazing amount of new technologies to complement the work the company has already been doing on electric cars. With three electric motors making up its drive train, the I Miev Sport gets a range of 200 kilometers. For a little extra juice, it uses regenerative brakes, miniturbines in its grille, and solar panels on its roof. Mitsubishi unveiled this latest example of its research into practical electric cars at the 2007 Tokyo auto show.
Lexus kept its floor area at the 2007 Tokyo auto show fairly clear, letting the cars speak for themselves as it were. And the two Lexus concepts, the LF-Xh and the LF-A, certainly had a lot to say. The LF-Xh is a continuation of the trend for road-going, SUV-bodied cars that stress performance, like the BMW X6 concept we saw at the Frankfurt auto show earlier this year. The LF-Xh looks like a squashed RX 400h, and that squashing made it angry. Note the "h" on "Xh"--it denotes that the concept is a hybrid, using … Read more
Audi's metroproject concept car uses a unique take on the Quattro all-wheel-drive system, with gasoline engine-powered front wheels and electrically driven rear wheels. The car can operate with gas or electric power alone, achieving a range of over 60 miles on the latter. Its infotainment unit can be removed, yet will still control the car through a wireless network. The future is indeed now. Audi showed the metroproject off at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, and we fought through the crowds to get pictures.
Is there such a thing as a mini minivan?
Volkswagen's Space Up, which was unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo auto show on Wednesday, certainly seems to qualify.
The four-door Space Up is just 3.68 m (12 feet) by 1.63 m (5 feet) compared to the VW Touran minivan, which is roughly 4.3 m (14 feet) by 1.8 m (6 feet).
The Space Up follows the two-door Up that debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show. As with the Up concept car, the drive train for all of the gasoline, diesel, and electric drives for this … Read more