Toyota Setsuna EV Concept is really something new, strange and amazing in the automotive industry. At last month’s New York Auto show, I thought guys at Lincoln were crazy when the automaker introduced the Navigator concept with gull-wing doors and tweakwood entry steps.
However, that is nothing compared to Toyota’s new “wooden” Roadster. It seems Toyota has taken the “green automobile idea” too far. Note, all this is coming from an automaker that has not fully warmed to the idea of electric driven cars as the future of the motoring industry.
However, in a humorous turn of events, the automaker seems to have gone beyond every existing electric car and electric car concepts we have seen to date. This though does not mean that out of the blue’s the Japanese automaker has crafted the most awesome engine with a very long range. The vehicle’s engine has a very small range. This might be because the model is purely conceptual.
The fully electric car’s structure is entirely built with wood. I don’t think it gets ‘greener’ than this, do you? The concept is named ‘Setsuna’ which means “Moment” in Japanese. The automaker says they designed the vehicle to capture the special “fleeting” moments people enjoy together with their cars.
Toyota Setsuna EV Concept Exterior and interior
Details of the Setsuna are still scarce but we hope to get more insight on the model when it makes a public debut at the upcoming Milan Design Week which starts on April 11th. One thing is sure though; the car is so far from being practical. Toyota chose to use wood because wood changes with time and the change would symbolize the transformation people and their families go through over the years. Looking closely at the car, you will realize that it resembles a boat.
The Toyota Setsuna EV Concept body is made with different types of wood. The exterior panels are made from cedar while the frame, seats and the floor are made from birch. The assembly of the wood is made using a traditional Japanese joinery method that does not need use of nails or screws. This technique is known as “Okuriari” in Japanese.
Sumitomo Forestry played a big role in helping the automaker identify the best types of wood to use. The 2-door Setsuna stretches 10 ft long. Its wooden structure is composed of handmade wooden panels while the joints on the vehicle’s frames compose of split tendons.
However, some parts could not be made of wood; can you imagine a wooden steering wheel or wheel caps? As such, Toyota has used aluminum on these components. Aluminum also brings out a good contrast with the wooden structure. Its cockpit on the other hand features aluminum and leather trim.
It is not only the wood appearance that change over time, the panels shape also changes since wood bends over time. With time, these changes result in more curves for the car. Inside, Toyota has fitted a clock that counts even years to remind owners of the special time they have went through with the car. The Roadster accommodates only two passengers.
Toyota Setsuna EV Concept Engine
The ‘wooden” car is powered by an electric motor but the automaker has not disclosed its output figures. Its juice is stored in six, 12-volt lead-acid starter batteries. The batteries give the car a range of 16 miles at speeds of up to 28 mph.