Tokyo Motor Show’s ‘Open Future’ Highlights EVs and Wild Concept Cars

By Anna Breuer on 23 October 2019
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Tokyo Motor Show at the Big Sight Convention Center

The biennial Tokyo Motor Show is a showcase of the automobile industry’s wish list for futuristic technology, and was the first Tokyo show without a major figure in the Japanese auto industry, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested in 2018 for financial misconduct, a charge he has denied.

Held at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center on the shores of Tokyo Bay, the show opens to the public on Thursday and runs through November 4.

This year’s theme, Open Future, allows manufacturers to present something for everyone.  Electric vehicles? Check!   Luxury automobiles? Check! Personal transport devices that look like scooters? Check!

This year’s show is heavy on virtual reality shows and robots playing sports, and that’s for the adults in attendance, while there are miniature cars, driving games, and Legos creations meant for the younger crowd. The emphasis at the Tokyo show is less on international premieres with more of a focus of impressing Japanese consumers.

Perhaps intending to appeal to both groups, Toyota Motor Corp. CEO Akio Toyoda took to the stage appearing as Morizo, an animated character made in his image.   Under the mantra of “we put people first,” Toyoda said that the automaker would henceforth offer new services as well as new models, listing ecologically friendly commuting and mobile charging as potential offerings.

Nissan’s design chief, speaking in front of the same audience, lauded the design of the automaker’s new concept EV, the IMK city car, as part of the company’s “Timeless Japanese Futurism” philosophy. “So much innovation in such a little box,” he said.

The list of new vehicles on display includes the fifth-generation Honda Fit, which has a new two-motor hybrid drivetrain; the Nissan Ariya concept, an electric SUV that may make it into production in a few years; the Mazda MX-30, replete with suicide doors, cork trim, and seats made of recycled bottles; and the Toyota LQ Concept, a Level 4 autonomous vehicle, which features artificial intelligence called Yui that can suggest the right music for the moment and keep the driver alert when he needs to retake control.

The Lexus LF-30 electrified concept, which highlights the brand’s future powertrains, driving feel, and design, sports four electric motors that develop 536 peak horsepower. It also features gullwing doors, a gesture-controlled glass roof, autonomous driving capabilities, and something that is unlikely to appear in a production version, drones that carry your luggage from the vehicle to your front door.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)