The theme of this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, held from October 23 to November 4, was ‘fun driving for us, eco driving for the earth’, and we saw some quirky models as well as the latest alternatively fuelled vehicles. Here are the ones that interested us the most.
The hybrid concept car, with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, will form the basis of a model scheduled for production in 2013. The PX-MiEV is an SUV with a conscience. Its all-wheel-drive system, paintwork and seats are designed to save fuel. At low-to-medium speeds, the electric motor alone drives the car. As the batteries start to run out of charge the petrol engine cuts in to serve as a generator. Air suspension can be set at three different ride heights to suit the terrain, while the glass blocks out ultra-violet light.
Honda’s Skydeck concept
The Skydeck concept car shows that MPVs can be sleek and stylish too. The Skydeck has a flat, low floor to lower the centre of gravity, but a high central tunnel that could easily house the fuel stack and batteries Honda uses in its FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell car.
Lotus’s Exige Stealth
The Exige Stealth (Scura in the UK) is striking with its matte black paint job. Differences from the standard Exige include new wheels, a carbonfibre rear spoiler, air intakes and front splitter. The car also has specially formulated tyres made from a unique compound that’s made just for Lotus. The suspension is adjustable — there are 60 settings on the damper unit, and you can also drop the ride height by 10mm.
Nissan’s Land Glider Concept
The Land Glider electric vehicle has rounded tyres like a motorbike, it leans through the corners like a motorbike and, at just over a metre, it’s not much wider than a motorbike. It can seat two people, has four wheels, a steering wheel and a hard cocoon that covers the driver and passenger. To us, that makes it a car, and a really cool one at that.
The initial concept was to build an electric vehicle that is easily manoeuvrable in the city. With two electric motors that power the rear wheels, the Land Glider has a range of 120km and a top speed of 100kph.
Suzuki’s Swift and SX4 eco concepts
Suzuki has unveiled a plug-in hybrid version of the Suzuki Swift and a hydrogen-powered SX4. The hybrid Swift has a 660cc petrol engine and an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. On electric power, the car has a range of 20 km.