Toyota FCV-R concept:
Toyota Fun-Vii concept:
Toyota GRNM Hybrid sports car concept:
These three personal mobility concepts, hailing from new environmentally efficient company Kowa tmsuk, were on show in the Smart Mobility City section of the Tokyo motor show.
Kowa tmsuk, which is developing vehicles under the Kobot brand, is a rather unlikely source for a new car company: the brand actually stems from a partnership between Kowa, a pharmaceuticals and electro-optronics company, and a robotics company tmsuk, creators of service robots such as the telerobotic shopper and the Showa Hanako 2 robotic dental patient.
The urban-centric electric vehicles developed under the new partnership include two single passenger personal mobility vehicles called the Kobot V (red) and the Kobot β (green) and the Renault Twizy-like two-passenger Kobot ∏. According to the Japanese company, the Kobots are ‘ultra small and ultra agile vehicles embodying the design full of playful spirit’. The V and β′s telescopic foldable structure shortens the vehicle’s wheelbase to save space when parked.
The Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept was one of those increasingly rare things – a genuine motor show surprise. And it wasn’t just its presence that was surprising, but its execution.
Proportionally it’s as would you expect given its name – deep bodysides topped with a shallow, tapered upper and it works particularly well. Its side profile is particularly successful, where its long hood and thick C-pillar offer a point of difference from others in the increasingly crowded crossover space.
Its nose is less successful though. Not bad as such, but too reminiscent of the Honda Crosstour, with a dash of Dacia Duster to taste.
But step closer and the surfacing treatment is genuinely new to VW. The sharp precision is as evident as ever, but between the creases lie tightly controlled but more expressive surfacing. The undercut belt line is a particular stand-out, while the way its lower line flares out into the pumped-up fenders adds a machine-like muscularity, if you will. We’ll brush over the Jeep Compass reference…
When we asked Klaus Bischoff, Executive Director of VW Design about the car’s significance, he said: “it represents the next stage for Volkswagen design. Recently we made a fresh start and created a strong identity for the brand: unique, global, timeless and precise. Now we have established this strong identity, it’s time to find more identities within the families.”
Bischoff went on to explain that each strand within the brand would start to find its own identity, so sedans will feel different from SUVs and so on.
And is this a direct result of the criticism that all VWs are starting to look the same? “There were only a few voices saying this”, says Bischoff, although there is clearly a desire from within to derivate within the parameters of the brand set by de’Silva.
By Owen Ready