Tokyo Motor Show 2015: Toyota and Nissan new concepts

Toyota and Lexus new FCV concepts, Nissan's vision for autonomous driving



Tokyo Motor Show 2015
Tokyo Motor Show 2015 venue (Tokyo Big Sight)

 This report summarizes exhibits by Toyota Motor Corporation and Nissan Motor Corporation at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015.

 Toyota exhibited concepts of its new fuel cell vehicles designed under the Toyota and Lexus brands. Nissan announced the Nissan IDS Concept, its vision for the future of autonomous driving. The two automakers also exhibited a number of other concept vehicles. This report also touches on the Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo: Connected Lounge, which represents Daimler AG's vision of autonomous driving of the future.

 Among production vehicles, Toyota exhibited the all-new Lexus RX and GS F. Nissan exhibited an electric vehicle, the new Leaf EV, slated for launch before the end of the year. This latest version Leaf EV has an extended driving range of 280km. As for sports models, Toyota exhibited the Toyota G's and Lexus F and F Sport, while Nissan exhibited its sports models in the Nismo series.

 Toyota's all-new Prius will be the subject of a separate report.


Toyota concept cars: Compact crossover, lightweight sports & FCV

 Toyota exhibited the CH-R Concept, a new-generation compact crossover; the S-FR, a new-generation lightweight sports car concept; the FCV Plus, a fuel cell vehicle concept; the Kikai, an all-new concept designed to enhance the bond between car and driver; and the all-new Prius.

★Click the photo for a larger view.


TOYOTA C-HR Toyota C-HR Concept, a new-generation compact crossover concept TOYOTA S-FR Toyota S-FR, a new-generation lightweight sports car concept


Toyota concept cars: Compact crossover & lightweight sports car

C-HR Concept  (Japan premiere) The C-HR Concept embodies a new direction in Toyota design, asserting strong individuality that will get attention in the crossover market. It combines outstanding environmental performance with driving agility in a compact body size.
 This vehicle features strong body rigidity, being built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) pursuing enhanced handling stability and ride comfort. It is 4,350mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,500mm high and comes in either 3- or 5-door versions. Toyota plans to debut a near-production model in early 2016.
 Toyota has designed the C-HR to achieve a 40% or higher thermal efficiency, planning to offer it in both gasoline and hybrid versions. The hybrid system has been made more even more compact and lightweight so as to further improve fuel economy.
S-FR  (World premiere) The S-FR gets its pedigree from Toyota's lightweight sports car line. The concept model is meant as an entry-level vehicle that responds as instructed by the driver, letting the driver experience the fun of communicating with it in everyday driving.
 The S-FR features a front-engine, rear-drive (FR) configuration engineered to ensure a unique driving experience. This allows the vehicle to respond precisely to the driver's will in terms of controlling the car. The vehicle also features a six-speed manual transmission that enhances the fun of driving and handling. It is 3,990mm long, 1,695mm wide and 1,320mm high and seats four. It is slightly smaller in size than the Toyota 86 that measures 4,240mm by 1,775mm by 1,320mm.

 The FCV Plus is a concept vehicle with power-generating capability designed to meet the needs of a hydrogen-based society, becoming a part of the social infrastructure. The Toyota Kikai ("Kikai" meaning "machine" in Japanese) is in sheer contrast to the modern vehicle that has been turned into just a "black box". It offers a new sensation in driving that can be felt directly through all five senses, which can detect the movement of the car as a machine.


TOYOTA  FCV PLUS Toyota FCV Plus, a fuel cell vehicle concept TOYOTA KIKAI Toyota Kikai to establish new relationship between car and driver TOYOTA KIKAI Driver's seat on Toyota Kikai shown with instruments (Source: Toyota)


Toyota concept cars: All-new FCV concept, etc.

FCV PLUS  (World premiere) Other than being a means of mobility, the FCV Plus is a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) designed to play a new role as a supply-source of electric power and contribute to a hydrogen-based society. The FCV Plus will be capable of generating electricity not only from its on-board hydrogen tank but also from external sources of hydrogen that one day could be generated and stored along roads. The FCV Plus represents a step from simple "eco-cars" to "power-supply cars". Capable of serving as a backup energy source when needed, the FCV Plus is capable of supplying electric power to other cars, buildings, etc. during emergencies. In addition, it will someday also be possible for the car to supply power contact-free while stopped along the roadside at power feeding facilities envisioned in the future.
 The fuel cell stack is located between the front wheels, and the hydrogen tank behind the rear seats. Due in part to the use of an in-wheel motor in all four wheels, the stack and tank layout has resulted in creating more cabin interior space, despite the compact body size. Designed with expansive window glass, it is offers greater outward visibility. The FCV Plus is 3,800mm long, 1,750mm wide and 1,540mm high.
KIKAI  (World premiere) The Toyota Kikai is designed in sheer contrast to the modern car that has become just a "black box" concealing IT and "control by wire" gadgets. As a result of its see-through design, all working parts of the vehicle are exposed to show exactly how the car runs, turns and stops.
 The Kikai is aimed at building a new relationship between car and driver by re-confirming the idea that "machine=car", as based on its precision, beauty, and movement. According to Toyota, the Kikai has been built to a certain extent based on the growing popularity in Japan of guided tours of aircraft maintenance shops and dam construction sites. It is 3,400mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,550mm high. It seats three, with the driver sitting at the center of the vehicle.



Toyota G's Series on parade

 Toyota G's Series represents a line of fully tuned sports cars. A total of five models, including the G's Harrier and G's Mark X, were exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Toyota G's Series of sports cars

 "G's" is a line of sports cars sold under the Toyota brand. At the Show, Toyota had five of the six G's models on display (the Aqua, Prius α, Harrier, Mark X, and Vitz).
 While all of the models in the G's series are in their own right sports cars, they are designed to portray more of an image as sports cars totally tuned for city driving in style, based on their suspension, body rigidity, seats, and pedals. Of utmost importance in the series is the vehicles' reliability right from the time they are driven off the assembly line. The G's models use the same engines as those mounted on basic models.



New Lexus LF-FC Concept fuel cell vehicles

 Lexus exhibited the Lexus LF-FC Concept which is envisioned as the brand's future flagship car. The LF-FC is an FCV capable of autonomous driving.


LF-FC Flagship Concept LF-FC Flagship Concept LF-FC Concept's chassis LF-FC Concept's chassis with the hydrogen tank in T-arrangement


Lexus LF-FC Concept

 Developed as a study model that is envisioned to become the brand's flagship model for the future, the LF-FC Concept has been built to achieve dynamic as well as sophisticated beauty. The front and rear wheel lines blend with the rugged framework that starts from the boldly evolved spindle grille at the front. The LF-FC Concept is 5,300mm long, 2,000mm wide and 1,410mm high and seats four. It is slightly larger in size than the Lexus LS 600hL (long-wheelbase model) that is 5,210mm long and 1,875mm wide.
 This vehicle has its high-output fuel cell stack and power-control unit stowed in the engine compartment. It has two hydrogen tanks stowed horizontally in a T-shaped layout under the floor. The basic version comes equipped with rear-wheel drive, but the car can be converted into all-wheel drive with an in-wheel motor installed in the front wheels. This allows the torque to be precisely controlled and distributed between the front and rear wheels.
 The vehicle comes equipped with autonomous driving technologies. "Driving Intelligence" allows the car to perform advanced recognition and prediction while "Connected Intelligence" allows the car to communicate with other cars and also with roadside communications equipment. "Interactive Intelligence" senses the driver's condition and coordinates with the driver, as if they were a team.



Lexus production and near-production models: RX, GS F

 Lexus introduced the all-new RX launched in October 2015 and the GS F scheduled for launch within 2015.

 Lexus "F" lineup of sports cars include the "F" high-performance sports car model ready for racing circuits and the "F Sport" model styled like the "F" and engineered for drivers craving for everyday sporty driving enjoyment.

 The GS F is a third member of the "F" lineup after the IS F (which was discontinued) and the RC F. The "F Sport" is available in seven versions, and three of them were exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show (the LS600h, CT200h and RX450h "F Sport").


Lexus RX All-new Lexus RX premium crossover Lexus GS F Lexus GS F high-performance sports sedan


Lexus brand: Redesigned RX and all-new GS F

Model Launched in Description
RX October 2015 <RX450h> The V6 3.5-liter engine, equipped with the D-4S system capable of switching between direct injection and port injection, is mated with a hybrid system. This combination increases the car's output performance while achieving the highest level of fuel economy in its class (18.8km/liter under JC08 mode test).
<RX200t> This model, powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine, is a new member of the RX line. The car features D-4ST (the conventional D-4S system enhanced with a turbocharger), and an advanced direct-injection system that achieves optimal combustion efficiency. The twin-scroll turbo is combined with the Dual VVT-iW featuring a wider variable angle to generate strong torques in the low-speed range. This creates a smooth and exhilarating feel of acceleration.
<Common features> Both models feature the Lexus Safety System+ with pedestrian-detection capability. This active safety package includes a pre-collision safety system, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, and radar cruise control (with all-speed adaptability) to provide multi-faceted safety assistance for the driver.
GS F Within 2015  (Japan premiere) "F" denotes a line of Lexus sport cars, culminating with the top-of-the line LFA, Lexus' first supercar. The V8 5.0-liter engine mounted on the GS F produces linear power and dynamic response, two characteristics typified by naturally aspirated engines. The engine runs on the Atkinson cycle at cruising range to increase fuel efficiency and environmental performance.
 The 8-speed Sport Direct Shift Transmission (SPDS), engineered to directly transmit torque by locking up the 2nd to 8th gears, allows the driver to directly sense the vehicle's acceleration power. The car is also fitted with a specially designed suspension system and other features that enable the driver to sense the feel of actual sports driving on ordinary roads, while enjoying a comfortable ride. The GS F is 4,915mm long, 1,855mm wide and 1,440mm and seats five.


Lexus F Sport Series

 The F Sport Series, characterized by its enhanced suspension and sleek exterior, conveys the spirit of the "F". (The engines are the same as those on standard models.) The driver will enjoy the unique, direct feel of the car, the moment the accelerator pedal is pressed or the steering wheel is turned. The F Sport version is currently available in seven models that include the LS, GS, IS, RC, CT, RX and NX. Three F Sport models (the LS600h, CT200h and RX450h) were exhibited at the motor show.



Nissan concept cars: IDS Concept for autonomous driving & GRIPZ CONCEPT

 Nissan exhibited four concept cars, namely the IDS Concept, Teatro for Dayz, Gripz Concept, and Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo. The IDS Concept and the Teatro for Dayz are electric vehicles (EV) while the Grips Concept's powertrain is an EV-based Series Hybrid System (with a range extender).

 Much of Nissan's effort at the motor show was devoted to promoting the autonomous-driving IDS Concept. In 2016, Nissan plans to introduce its "Piloted Drive 1.0" based on the "Traffic Jam Pilot" system that makes it possible for autonomous-driving vehicles to travel safely in a single lane on a congested highway. This will be followed in 2018 by "Piloted Drive 2.0" that will make lane changes, merges on and off highways, etc. possible. By 2020, Nissan plans to commercialize autonomous-driving vehicles capable of traveling on both highways and city streets. The Nissan IDS Concept embodies the company's vision for perfected autonomous driving.

 Nissan's EV technology will continue to remain at the heart of its products. Nissan claims that its EV technology for precise control over the vehicle will play a crucial role in the development of autonomous driving vehicles.


IDS Concept Nissan's IDS Concept for autonomous driving IDS Concept While the vehicle is in autonomous-drive mode, all four seats in the IDS Concept rotate slightly inward to face each other, creating a relaxing atmosphere so all occupants can easily converse with one another. (Source: Nissan) GRIPZ CONCEPT Gripz Concept sports crossover


Nissan IDS Concept: Nissan's vision for autonomous driving

IDS Concept  (World premiere) "IDS" stands for Intelligent Driving System, which is Nissan's concept for autonomous-driving technology integrating highly evolved vehicle control, safety systems, and artificial intelligence (AI). This concept was introduced on a four-seater EV hatchback powered by a 60kWh lithium-ion battery. The concept is designed to reduce human error, which accounts for over 90% of traffic accidents, and enable safe and pleasant driving. The vehicle has a full carbon-fiber body.
 The driver can switch between autonomous and manual control modes. Even when the driver selects the autonomous-driving mode, i.e., Piloted Drive (PD) mode, and hands control over to the system, the car's performance, from accelerating up to braking and cornering, will feel as if the driver is actually behind the wheel. This is because the vehicle imitates the driver's own driving style and preferences that were learned by the onboard AI. The AI constantly monitors the driver's state of health and even goes so far as to suggest a restaurant according to the driver's physical condition and feeling on that day. When in Manual Drive (MD), the driver has control. Yet, the IDS continues to provide assistance behind the scenes, using sensors that constantly monitor the vehicle's conditions to assist the driver.
 The steering wheel, instrument panel, head-up display, interior and cabin lighting will reset accordingly, whenever the driving mode is switched from PD to MD mode, and vice versa. When the vehicle is in PD mode, the steering wheel retracts into the instrument panel and a large flat screen comes into view to create a roomy atmosphere. Switching between modes is always carried out manually by hand, not by voice or gesture, to make certain that the driver is in command.
GRIPZ CONCEPT  (Japan premiere) This is the concept car that was unveiled earlier at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. It aims to blend the ability and practical utility of a compact crossover with the excitement and performance of a sports car. It gives a glimpse of a compact crossover in a sports car-like silhouette. Yet, it can provide extra height for daily commuting and weekend fun alike. It is 4,100mm long, 1,890mm wide and 1,500mm high.
 The powertrain uses a Series Hybrid system called Pure Drive e-Power based on the Leaf EV's system. It runs on electricity generated by the gasoline engine. The Gripz Concept is fitted with two large-capacity motors (generator and drive motor) with maximum output of 80kW, as is the Nissan Leaf EV.
 The exterior was developed jointly by design staff in Japan and Europe based on Nissan's "emotional geometry" design language. The intention is evident in strong contrasts through the dynamically flowing, yet edgy surface.


TEATRO for DAYZ Teatro for Dayz with its white interior serving as a blank canvas, like a screen, which will be lit-up with displays. The vehicle is a new approach for delivering a car's new value to next-generation consumers (Source: Nissan) TEATRO for DAYZ Example of Teatro for Dayz's instrument panel displays (a car that transforms into a digital device) (Source: Nissan) Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo, a virtual sports car


Nissan's Teatro for Dayz Concept

TEATRO for DAYZ  (World premiere) This electric mini-vehicle of the future, exploring a car's new potentials, has nothing inside other than white seats and a few control devices. The white interior transforms into a screen on which various images can be displayed, and they can be altered freely in the blink of an eye.
 The car has been developed with next-generation consumers in mind, who went straight from the cradle to the Internet, being raised in the constantly evolving mobile world. They seek more from their cars, demanding the element of pleasure too, since they don't see them as just a means of moving from one place to another. They could even demand cars that can be arranged to their liking, just like they do with their smartphones. According to Nissan, today's young people prefer mini-vehicles. To them, compact car bodies are akin to mobile devices that fit into pockets.
 Powered by a large-capacity battery, this electric vehicle will transform into a digital gadget (a mobile device for entertainment). The Teatro for Dayz is presenting a whole new way of having fun with a car, such as playing games on the instrument panel.
2020 VISION GRAN TURISMO  Unveiled in the U.K. in June 2015, this is a virtual sports car that was created in the image of the "Vision Gran Tourism" project of the "Gran Tourism 6" racing video game software for PlayStation. Designed by young European designers as a dream-inspiring sports car, the real-world embodiment of a virtual car presents an emotional body line backed by proven aerodynamic performance. Clad in new Fire Knight red body color, Nissan's impressive V-Motion grille was refined further for the Tokyo Motor Show.



Nissan Leaf with 280km driving range

 Nissan will launch the partially redesigned Leaf in December 2015. At the same time, Nissan announced that a new grade will be added with increased battery capacity that will increase the driving range up to 280km (JC08 mode test).

 Other Nissan exhibits at the motor show included the Fairlady Z, GT-R and the Note Nismo sports model.


Nissan's production models ready for launch

Model Launched in Description
Nissan LEAF December 2015  The Nissan Leaf will be slightly redesigned in November and sold from December. Forward Emergency Braking will be standard on all versions.
 An additional grade will be introduced, which will come with an onboard lithium-ion battery whose capacity will be increased from 24kWh to 30kWh and whose driving range will be increased from 228km to 280km per charge. Forward Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning are standard on the new grade.


Nissan: Nismo series of sport models

 Nissan exhibited the GT-R, Fairlady Z, and Note from its Nismo series of sports models. Other models in the series include the Juke and March, although they were not exhibited at the show. All sports models are fitted with engines that are specially tuned through the use of a special intake and exhaust system, for example.
 Nissan's sports models in the Nismo series feature enhanced rigidity for the suspension and body. They are fitted with special front grilles, roof spoilers, bumpers, mirrors, tire and emblems.



Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo: Connected Lounge

 Daimler AG exhibited its Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo: Connected Lounge, representing the concept of a fuel cell vehicle with autonomous-driving capability. It offers two types of interior layouts, based on a concept common to that of Nissan's IDS Concept. For instance, the cabin turns into a spacious and comfortable interior when the vehicle is in autonomous-driving mode.


Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo Concept Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo Concept Vision Tokyo Vision Tokyo: Relaxing space for all occupants while vehicle is in autonomous-drive mode (Source: Daimler AG) Vision Tokyo Vision Tokyo: Driver's seat with control handed over to the driver (Source: Daimler AG)


Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo: Connected Lounge

 Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo Concept is the embodiment of a next-generation vehicle that will be used as a moving lounge. It is designed especially for megacities such as Tokyo, which is characterized as a city full of hustle and bustle and a place where people crave to relax. Developed as a fuel cell vehicle, the Vision Tokyo runs approximately 790km on its fuel cells and 190km on its onboard battery, offering a total driving range of 980km.
 The Vision Tokyo is designed mainly for Generation Z consumers, who are big-city dwellers born since 1995 and have grown up with all sort of new media. For them, the role of the vehicle is no longer simply a means of going places but a mobile, digital tool. The Vision Tokyo features an AI predictive engine that, with each journey, learns the likes and preferences of its occupants. This makes the Vision Tokyo an ideal partner for Generation Z.
 While the vehicle is in autonomous drive, the occupants will sit comfortably in a large, oval-shaped couch and engage in friendly conversation without having to worry about maneuvering through the dense traffic. The Vision Tokyo plays the role of connecting people. When it is time for the driver to take over the wheel, the center portion of the front section of the couch facing the direction of travel can be detached, becoming the driver's seat. The retracted steering wheel automatically appears, becoming ready to be handled in the driving position.


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