Friday, July 15, 2016

Toyota's New Take on Sustainable Mobility

March 11, 2016

Every automaker has its own take on environmental matters and sustainable mobility. Some are putting their faith in hydrogen fuel cells, some see hybrids and plug-in hybrids as the future, EVs are the choice of others, while plenty appear to still have faith in efficient gasoline models. Most manufacturers also pay a lot of attention to the materials used to build their products, many of which are now recycled, recyclable or both. However, Toyota has now gone and taken things to an entirely new level with a concept that's not only all-electric, it's even made almost entirely from wood.

The car is called the , and it's set to make its global debut at the upcoming Design Week in Milan, Italy.

The project was overseen by Kenji Tsuji, whose team used a technique called okuriari to join the wooden parts together without the use of nails or screws. The Setsuna uses Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. The creators even went as far as building the floor and seats from wood, although we'll have to wait for some better photos when it debuts in Italy because the single image released by Toyota doesn't show all those details.

It would obviously defeat the object to a large degree if the Setsuna had a conventional engine in it, which is why it utilizes six lead-acid batteries instead that give it a total range of about 16 miles. The electric motor is also said to be able to accelerate the roadster to a sedate 28 miles per hour.

The Setsuna's name means "moment" in Japanese, and it's said that it was chosen to reflect the fact that people experience precious, fleeting moments together with their cars. The Japanese automaker believes that these collective moments can make cars irreplaceable to their owners over time.

An important idea behind the concept is that the materials it is made from will change over time to reflect the car's age, the environment it's been used in, and the way it's been used and looked after by its owner.

Tsuji explains, "The completed body line of the Setsuna expresses a beautiful curve reminiscent of a boat. We would also like the viewer to imagine how the Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years. The car includes a 100-year meter that will keep time over generations, and seats that combine functional beauty with the gentle hue of the wood."
To put it another way, the philosophy behind the Setsuna is to create a family vehicle that becomes permeated with the sort of personality and memory association normally reserved for a member of the family, and to eventually become a living history of multiple generations.

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