Tokyo Motor Show 2013: Japanese OEMs unveil future concepts

Innovative SUVs crowd the floor; Toyota exhibits FCV design concept

2013/12/04

Summary

Tokyo Motor Show exhibition arena
Tokyo Motor Show exhibition arena (Tokyo Big Sight)

 The 43rd Tokyo Motor Show was held from November 20th to December 1st, 2013 (opened to the public from November 23th). The number of visitors increased by 7% from the previous show to about 902,800 (announced by the organizer).

 This report covers the concept cars that were exhibited by Japanese automakers at the show (Another report will follow shortly covering the concept cars of mini vehicles and production models slated for market launch in the near future).

 Toyota unveiled a design concept of the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) that will reach market in 2015. Nissan suddenly introduced two versions of its concept car, IDx, that show a method of joint development involving customers.

 Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI: Subaru) and Suzuki  each unveiled plural SUV concepts which suggested that SUV was the mainstream in their market strategy.

 Honda exhibited a next-generation concept of the super sports car, NSX, whose production was once discontinued in 2005. Toyota presented a concept of an open-top model based on the 86 Compact Sports Car.

(Note) The "*" sign is attached to the model names that were unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show 2013.

 
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FCV and CNG Concepts: Toyota unveils FCV design concept

 Two from the Toyota Group companies unveiled their concepts of the fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). Toyota exhibited a design concept of the sedan slated for market launch in 2015. Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. (Daihatsu) premiered a mini commercial vehicle concept powered by liquid fuel. Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) exhibited the Mazda3 driven by the SKYACTIV-CNG bi-fuel engine that runs on gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG ).

 

TOYOTA FCV CONCEPT

Bare chassis of the FCV
TOYOTA FCV CONCEPT Bare chassis of the FCV. The power control unit and the motor are stowed in the front (on the left of the picture). The fuel cells and the boost converter are under the front seats. A hydrogen tank is under the rear seat. Another hydrogen tank and secondary battery are behind the rear seat.

FCV concepts

TOYOTA FCV CONCEPT* The design concept of a sedan-type fuel cell vehicle slated for market launch in 2015. The four-seater FCV has 4870mm overall length, which is 25mm shorter than the Crown. It is designed to appeal the essential aspect of an FCV that generates electricity from air and hydrogen and emits nothing other than water (as the Prius is easily identifiable at a glance). For instance, large side radiator grilles give distinctive impression to the car's facade while the side lines express the transformation from air to water. The narrow headlamps leave extra height to the grille. This design will be reflected in the production model as well.
The new FC stack has a power output density of 3kW/liter, which is more than twice that of the current FCHV-adv that was announced in June 2008. Though smaller and lighter, it delivers more than 100kW total power output. The new FC system has a high-efficiency boost converter to increase the system voltage. This, in turn, reduces the motor size and the number of fuel cells onboard. The FCV Concept has vehicle system efficiency (see Note) of 65% (as measured internally in LA#4 mode). It has two 70MPa hydrogen tanks with a hydrogen fuel holding capacity of 5.7 wt% (the amount of hydrogen fuel per mass) which, according to Toyota, is one of the highest available in the world today.
The FCV has a cruising range of 700km (in JC08 test mode: measured internally by Toyota). It takes only 3 minutes to fill up the hydrogen fuel tanks. It has an external power supply capability to provide enough electricity to meet the daily needs of an average household for a week or longer (10kWh per day).
Daihatsu FC 凸 (Deco) deck* A mini commercial vehicle concept powered by Daihatsu's original liquid fuel cell which is entirely free of precious metals. Unlike the theoretical concept vehicle, FC show CASE, that was exhibited in the 2011 show, the FC 'Deco' deck is roadworthy. Daihatsu has built two units that are now used in proving tests. According to the manufacturer, it will take five to six years before the FC 'Deco' deck reaches the market.
The FC stack is stowed under the seats. The fuel tank and the fuel cells are stowed under the chassis. The vehicle has fuel cell power output of 35kW.
(Honda FCEV CONCEPT) Honda unveiled its fuel cell concept, Honda FCEV CONCEPT, at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 20, the same day the Tokyo Motor Show Press Day was held. It has a 70MPa hydrogen fuel tank that can be filled up in about 3 minutes for a cruising range of over 300 miles.
The newly-developed FC stack has power output of over 100kW and power output density of over 3kW/liter. Yet, it is 33% smaller in size compared with that on the FCX Clarity. The powertrain, including the FC stack, is stowed under the sedan type front hood to leave extra space for the occupants (five-seater vehicle).

(Note) Vehicle system efficiency: The ratio of energy available for driving to the energy available from the hydrogen fuel in the tank Daihatsu FC Deco deck

 

Daihatsu FC  凸 deck
Daihatsu FC 凸 (Deco) deck

 

CNG Concepts

Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept* The dual-fuel model is based on the gasoline-fueled Mazda3 (known as the Axela in Japan), and runs on both gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG). The drive power source can be switched between gasoline and CNG. For instance, the driver may opt for CNG when fuel economy is a main concern, and switch to gasoline when agility is more important. Mazda is developing an E85 biofuel engine (with 85% ethanol concentration) based on its gasoline-fueled SKYACTIV-G engine.
The SKYACTIV-G engine already has a high compression ratio of 14 to 1. Therefore, it was not necessary to increase the compression ratio to convert the engine to dual-fuel engine. As a result, the CNG Concept was realized with the least additional development. The 75-liter CNG tank occupies one half of the rear luggage space.

 

Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept
Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept

Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept's engine compartment
Mazda3 SKYACTIV-CNG Concept's engine compartment

 

 



Concept cars that showcase future mobility

 Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) displayed the TOYOTA FV2 (world premiere), a personal vehicle designed under the theme of physical and emotional communication with the driver. Another world premiere by Toyota was the JPN Taxi Concept that previewed the next-generation taxicabs.

 Nissan displayed two concept cars, the IDx. The company took a new approach and developed the vehicle with potential customers. Nissan also exhibited the Blade Glider, a three-seater EV concept that gives a delta wing-like impression.

 

TOYOTA FV2
TOYOTA FV2
Toyota JPN TAXI Concept
Toyota JPN TAXI Concept

 

Toyota TOYOTA FV2* A future vehicle designed under the concept of physical and emotional communication with the driver, just like a little boy and his pony. The car is steered as the driver shifts his or her body weight forward or backward, to the right or left. Linked with "Toyota Heart" which accumulates and stores the driver's personal information, the car judges his or her feelings and helps him or her communicate with the car.
The FV2 on display has two in-line (front and rear) drive wheels (for driving at pace about 5km/h) although a cross-line (right and left wheel drive) layout is planned for the future. The car does not have the steering wheel or anything for the driver to hold on to.
JPN TAXI Concept* The concept is dedicated to the next-generation taxicabs. The Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) layout creates extra space in the cabin for passengers. The large sliding door, small ground clearance and the flat floor all contribute to increasing the ease of ingress and egress. The vehicle's interior features designs that appeal Japanese hospitality to visitors from overseas. The taxicab will be driven by a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) hybrid system.
Nissan IDx Freeflow & IDx NISMO* Sedan-style concept cars were co-created with younger customers who were born after 1990. The engineers and the potential customers discussed a number of times in the course of development before reaching what they all wanted. According to Nissan, special 'development techniques' had to be developed regarding the method of communicating with the customers and the process control of development.
IDx Freeflow: Co-created with customers that sought a simple, clean, and authentic impression. The fashionable interior is designed to satisfy both the practical needs and riding comfort. The vehicle measures 4100mm in length, 1700mm in width, and 1300mm in height. The powertrain consists of a 1.2- or 1.5-liter gasoline engine and the CVT.
IDx NISMO: Co-created with customers who enjoyed racing simulation games. The 1.8 meter wide body is a bit wider than the Freeflow. The vehicle is fitted with a 1.6-liter direct-injection gasoline engine and a CVT with six-speed manual mode.
BLADE GLIDER* The EV concept features a design that resembles a glider and a delta wing. The triangular shape ensures a large downforce while suppressing air resistance. The vehicle measures 4200mm in length, 1000mm (front wheels) and 1890mm (rear wheels) in width, and 1140mm in height. The driver's seat is located at the center in the front with two occupants' seats behind.
The in-wheel motors drive the rear wheels independently. The lithium-ion battery is stowed over the rear axle. The car has 3:7 weight distribution between the front and rear wheels.
According to Nissan, the concept model is a preview of its future production model which may have a wider front end. The ample use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic for weight reduction may raise a cost issue.

 

Nissan IDx Freeflow
Nissan IDx Freeflow
Nissan IDx NISMO
Nissan IDx NISMO
Nissan BLADE GLIDER
Nissan BLADE GLIDER
Nissan BLADE GLIDER (rear side)
Nissan BLADE GLIDER (rear side)

 

 



SUV concept (Part 1): Mitsubishi unveils three SUV concepts

 In November 2013, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (Mitsubishi) announced its mid-term business plan named "New Stage 2016." The plan defines the pickup trucks, SUVs and crossover models as the strategic products, because these models are the main contributors to the company's global sales. It also calls for increasing production ratio of its electrified vehicles to 20% by 2020.

 Accordingly, Mitsubishi will launch all-new Triton pickup truck and the Pajero Sport in the fiscal years ending March 2015 (FY 2014) and March 2016 (FY 2015) respectively. The company is also developing the all-new Pajero, the RVR, and the Delica D:5, along with plug-in-hybrid vehicle (PHV) technologies. These products and technologies will be introduced successively in the market in and after FY 2015. Mitsubishi exhibited three SUV concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show, each clearly reflecting the company's strategies and original electrification technologies.

 

Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV
Mitsubishi Concept GC-Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
PHV system for Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV
PHV system for Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV
Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV
Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV
PHV system for Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV
PHV system for Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV

 

Concept GC-PHEV* The large-size SUV concept hints the next-generation Pajero. It is a PHV based on the Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)-type all-wheel drive vehicle. Unlike the Outlander PHEV with the FWD layout, the GC-PHEV has an RWD layout in anticipation of driving the rough terrains. The four-seater SUV features a large liquid crystal display table called the tactical table at the center. It also features the "AR windshield" that displays vital driving information on the windshield using the AR (augmented reality) technology.
The full-time AWD plug-in hybrid system consists of a 3.0-liter V6 supercharged engine (with 250kW maximum output), a motor (with 70kW maximum output), 8-speed AT, electronically-controlled central LSD, and rear differential. The lithium-ion battery has 12kWh capacity. The company aims to achieve hybrid fuel economy of over 15km per liter and EV driving range of over 40km.
Concept XR-PHEV* The next-generation compact SUV concept blends the coupe's form with SUV. The vehicle has an FWD-type plug-in hybrid system based on the Outlander PHEV (the rear-wheel drive motors are not used on the XR-PHEV). The roof has solar cells for charging auxiliary equipment and a variable spoiler at the rear edge. The vehicle has an overall length of 4370mm which is 75mm longer than the ongoing RVR.
The vehicle is powered by a downsized 1.1-liter inline 3-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engine (with 100kW maximum output) which is under development. It is fitted with the motor/generator (with 120kW maximum output). The lithium-ion battery, stowed under the floor, has 14kWh capacity. The company aims to achieve hybrid fuel economy of over 28km per liter and EV driving range of over 85km.
Concept AR* The next-generation compact MPV concept combines the mobility of the SUV and the occupant's comfort of the MPV cabin. It has the overall length of 4350mm which is shorter by 380mm than the Delica D:5. It is also 50mm shorter than the Delica D:3 (built based on the Nissan NV200). The company aims to achieve fuel economy of over 24km per liter.
The AR employs a mild hybrid system which combines the 1.1-liter inline 3-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engine, also used on the XR, and the belt-driven starter generator. The 48V lithium-ion battery and the DC-DC converter mounted at the rear ensure quick engine restart after start/stop interruption and assist the engine during acceleration.
Concept GR-HEV The pickup truck concept was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013. Fitted with the RWD-based hybrid system, the GR-HEV is powered by a 2.5-liter clean diesel engine, electric motor and 8-speed AT. The company aims to achieve CO2 emissions of 149g/km or less.

 

Mitsubishi Concept AR
Mitsubishi Concept AR
Mitsubishi Concept GR-HEV
Mitsubishi Concept GR-HEV

 

 



SUV concept (Part 2): Subaru's BRZ-based concept, Suzuki's Crosshiker, Lexus LF-NX

FHI (the automaker of Subaru automobiles) unveiled the seven-seater CROSSOVER 7 CONCEPT that may reach markets in 2015. Another world premiere by FHI was the CROSS SPORT DESIGN CONCEPT (based on the BRZ) which is a B-segment SUV not found in its ongoing lineup. The company also introduced its next-generation automotive technologies including autonomous driving adopted in the VIZIV EVOLUTION CONCEPT.

 Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki) unveiled two concept cars, the Crosshiker compact crossover built on the next-generation lightweight platforms and the X-LANDER open-top SUV. Lexus exhibited the LF-NX concept, its first SUV, fitted with a downsized 2.0-liter newly-developed turbocharged engine.

 

SUBARU CROSS SPORT DESIGN CONCEPT
SUBARU CROSS SPORT DESIGN CONCEPT
SUBARU CROSSOVER 7 CONCEPT
SUBARU CROSSOVER 7 CONCEPT
SUBARU VIZIV EVOLUTION CONCEPT
SUBARU VIZIV EVOLUTION CONCEPT

 

FHI: SUBARU

SUBARU CROSS SPORT DESIGN CONCEPT* The Cross Sport Design Concept represents the fusion between "sport" and "utility." Based on the BRZ, the vehicle is designed as a "shooting brake" having a larger vehicle height and a station wagon-like cabin and luggage area. It has the overall length of 4300mm, which is 60mm longer than the BRZ. The vehicle is developed as a B-segment car that is not found in Subaru's ongoing portfolio. It will not be released for sale until before 2016 if it is released at all.
SUBARU CROSSOVER 7CONCEPT * The seven-seater crossover concept has leather seats that give the car a quality impression. It measures 4780mm in length, 1800mm in width, and 1705mm in height, which makes it larger than the current seven-seater EXIGA. It is also 45mm taller than the EXIGA. The car is fitted with a 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed engine. It may most likely be the "model slated for market launch in 2015" in the company's mid-term business plan "Motion-V" that was announced in July 2011.
SUBARU VIZIV EVOLUTION CONCEPT The VIZIV CONCEPT crossover, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013, represents Subaru's next-generation automotive technology. The model exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show has a plug-in hybrid system in which the 2.0-liter diesel engine is replaced with a 1.6-liter direct-injection turbocharged (DIT) engine. It is also fitted with an autonomous driving system having stereo cameras with 360-degree sensing.

 

Suzuki

Crosshiker* The compact crossover concept, the Crosshiker, is built on a next-generation lightweight platform. It belongs to the A-segment in size but is on par with a mini vehicle in terms of the vehicle weight at 810kg. The vehicle measures 3650mm in length, 1695mm in width, and 1540mm in height. It is also fitted with the ENE-CHARGE II, a modified deceleration energy regeneration system. The system has an improved regeneration capacity and transmits drive force to the engine.
The same platform was used on the Regina that was exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show 2011. According to Suzuki, a model built on the same platform will reach markets in the near future. The Crosshiker is powered by the newly-developed 1-liter three-cylinder Dual Jet Engine that has two injectors per cylinder (also displayed at the show).
X-LANDER* The open-top SUV concept is based on the small AWD Jimny. It is fitted with a small mild hybrid system consisting of a 1.3-liter Dual Jet Engine, the newly-developed auto-controlled manual transmission (AMT) and a transfer with a built-in electric motor. The AMT was chosen because of the simple structure and the ease of increasing the strength. The motor is moved at the instance of gear shifting to prevent torque interruption.
Cameras mounted at the front and sides of the car display current road conditions at the tire level. The vehicle measures 3600mm in length, 1695mm in weight, and 1700mm in height.

 

Suzuki Crosshiker
Suzuki Crosshiker
X-LANDER
Suzuki X-LANDER

 

Lexus

LF-NX The Lexus LF-NX concept is the first compact SUV under the Lexus brand that was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013. The model on display at the Tokyo Motor Show is fitted with a newly-developed 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that replaces the hybrid powertrain of the previous model. The exterior is given a new tint around the fenders. The Lexus LF-NX may reach markets in 2014.

 

Lexus LF-NX
Lexus LF-NX

 

 



Sports concept cars: NSX Concept, FT-86 Open concept

 Honda and Toyota each exhibited their sports car concepts. Honda's NSX Concept is a super sports model that may reach markets in 2015. Toyota's FT-86 open-top concept is based on the compact "86" sports model. Other sports-type mini-vehicle concepts exhibited at the show, such as Honda's S660 Concept and Daihatsu's KOPEN, will be introduced in the upcoming report.

Honda NSX Concept
Honda NSX Concept
Toyota FT-86 Open concept
Toyota FT-86 Open concept

 

Honda NSX Concept Honda unveiled the NSX Concept, the next-generation super sports model (Japan premiere). The exterior color has been changed to white. The production model of the NSX will be introduced at the Detroit Motor Show 2014. It will be released for sale starting in North America in 2015 and successively in other regions. Outfitted with the SPORT HYBRID Super Handling - All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) hybrid system, the vehicle's front wheels are driven by two motors independently. The rear wheels are driven by the V6 mid-ship engine and the motor built into the dual clutch transmission (DCT).
Honda plans to launch in the fall of 2014 a large-size sedan, the Legend, fitted with the SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD powered by a V6 3.5-liter engine and seven-speed DCT. Designed in a reverse layout from the NSX, the Legend's rear wheels are driven by two motors. A compact-class hybrid sedan is also slated for market launch in the spring of 2014.
Toyota FT-86 Open concept This is the open-top concept of the "86" small sports car which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013. The body color has been changed to Flash Red and the interior color tone to gray for sake of contrast (the Geneva model was white in and out). Whether the FT-86 open-top model will reach markets is yet to be disclosed. According to Toyota, however, the concept model on display has come closer to marketability. Weighing slightly more than the "86" the open-top version has a soft top to reduce the overall weight.

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