JAPANESE CARMAKER PLANTS IDEA OF WOODEN CAR, WRITES DEREK FUNG
Made from wood, the Toyota Setsuna concept car will make its debut at Milan Design Week, which starts on April 11. According to the Japanese automaker, it chose to design a concept car largely from dead tree because it’s a “material that is durable yet prone to change over time”.
This would allow the Setsuna to show how “cars undergo a gradual transformation over the years, as if absorbing the aspirations, memories, and emotions of multiple generations of a family”.
The car’s wood will change depending on how it is used and treated, as well as the effects of environmental factors, in particular temperature and humidity. This, Toyota claims, gives the Setsuna “a unique character and depth”.
A number of different types of wood have been used for various purposes on the Setsuna, with Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and birch for the frame.
Incorporated into the car is an age meter that tracks the vehicle from birth to its 100th birthday.
All the various wood elements are held together using okuriari, a traditional Japanese joinery technique that avoids the use of nails or screws.
The car’s overall shape is said to be reminiscent of a boat. The two-seat Setsuna measures 3.03m from head to tail, has a width of 1.48m, stands 97cm tall, and rides on a 1.7m wheelbase.
Motivation comes courtesy of an electric drivetrain, although Toyota has yet to give any power outputs or performance figures for the concept.