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Two auto shows are taking place this week, and NowCar is covering both. The Tokyo Motor Show happens every two years whereas the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show happens annually, but both share one large common trait - automotive concepts. Automakers all over the globe set up shop at both auto shows to show off upcoming model concepts, accessories, technology, and more. This round, we’re covering some futuristic concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Lately, the theme in the auto industry seems to be autonomous driving cars and alternative fuel. The upcoming Mitsubishi e-Evolution has that and more. An all-electric vehicle, the e-Evolution has a powertrain made of three electric motors - one in the front and two in the back. The two rear motors split the power between the wheels to offer better driving and handling via its four-wheel drive system. Said to be a high-performance SUV, Mitsubishi has yet to release any specs, but it sure does look aggressive.
Mitsubishi also seems to have a new pattern going with its automotive design, because the e-Evolution follows the same coupe/SUV look of the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. The concept also shares the Dynamic Shield of the Mitsubishi Outlander grille, but the real futuristic aesthetics are inside the sci-fi looking cabin. Drivers will be greeted by a rectangular, half-cut, sporty steering wheel, a wide screen for infotainment and navigation, a floating instrument console, and two digital displays that project video to replace the rear view mirrors. Oh, and an artificial intelligent system will be integrated into the car to drive itself if the driver wishes, making this a semi-autonomous vehicle.
Since Nissan holds a controlling stake in Mitsubishi, it’s no surprise that Nissan and Mitsubishi are both building electric, autonomous vehicles. The powertrain is made up of two electric motors, one on each axle, generating a horsepower of 430 hp, and all-wheel drive will be the standard drivetrain. Boasting a range of nearly 400 miles on a single charge, electric vehicles may soon dominate the alternative fuel automotive market.
The Nissan IMx concept will also be semi-autonomous, allowing the driver to drive the vehicle themselves or activate an autonomous drive system. If the latter is chosen, the steering wheel will disappear and a 180-degree OLED screen will replace the dashboard. If that wasn’t enough of a futuristic concept, the entertainment system will actually be controlled by hand and eye movements. Someone call Tony Stark!
Toyota i-Ride and Fine-Comfort Ride
Also testing autonomous technology is Toyota, starting with their first concept, “Concept-i,” designed for drivers that may be disabled or unable to drive a vehicle with a standard setup. Shown off at the Consumer Technology Association show in January this year, 2017, the Concept-i looked a lot like a SmartCar with more style. This year, Toyota brought a larger more futuristic version of the concept, Concept-i RIDE, to the Tokyo Motor Show. Designed with a pair of joysticks to operate the vehicle, one for power and the other for steering, this concept is a more advanced version of the Concept-i, designed for mobility scooter and wheelchair consumers.
Designing vehicles for alternative users was one surprise Toyota debuted, but apparently hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aren’t strictly a Chevrolet and Kia Motors thing. Toyota also has a hydrogen fuel cell concept, called the Fine-Comfort Ride, that boasts 400 horsepower and a driving range of over 600 miles. With only water vapor as the exhaust fumes, that means electrolysis is a strong contender for the powertrain. Moreover, although there is no mention of this vehicle being autonomous, the seats can swivel backwards, so it’s a good bet.
Sadly, all of these concepts are just concepts. We may not see any of them in production for several years, maybe even a decade or two. Still, with electric vehicles becoming cheaper to build and self-driving car technology on the rise, such concepts may become more practical very soon. We’ll just hafta see. What do you think of these concepts? Let us know on the NowCar Facebook page.