Toyota Kikai profile
Our favorite bizarre-cars auto show, the biennial Tokyo event, kicks off later this month, and on the heels of the odd stuff from Honda, Suzuki, and others comes Toyota’s odd stuff. The steampunk Kikai [above] joins the FCV Plus hydrogen-fuel-cell concept and the Margaret Keane–like Kirobo robot/friend. Let’s take a closer look.
Whereas Toyota’s currently available fuel-cell vehicle, the Mirai, was hit with an ugly stick, the FCV Plus is a futuristic machine as might have been imagined around the time of the original iMac. Toyota says the FCV Plus would fit right into “a sustainable society in which hydrogen energy is in widespread use.” There are electric hub motors at all four corners, with a hydrogen-fuel-cell stack between the front wheels and an airy, blue-glass-wrapped cabin. When not in use, an external hydrogen source can be hooked up to the car so that it may produce electricity to be plugged back into a user’s home or the power grid.
Toyota Kikai exterior
The Kikai, as Toyota puts it, “takes the machinery, normally hidden beneath the body, and makes an open display of its beauty.” To us, this three-seater resembles a cross between a Ford T-bucket hot rod and a dune buggy. We’re digging the cycle fenders and the steelie-style wheels. Inside, the concept’s cabin features a center driving position, with two rear seats behind. Four freestanding gauges perched on a curved bar comprise the dash, and little windows in the footwells allow one to gaze at the workings of the front suspension. There appears to be little point to the Kikai other than to produce an interesting-looking thing—and we’re okay with that.
Toyota Kikai interior
This unsettling little guy is said to have been inspired by the robot astronaut Kirobo, who we are pretty sure is some kind of famous robot astronaut over in Japan. Anyway, Kirobo Mini, who is four inches tall, is intended to be brought along by its owners wherever they go and to “communicate with them in a meaningful way.” Toyota further claims that interactions with Kirobo will be accompanied by “expressions and gestures,” which will bring “smiles to [peoples’] faces through daily exchanges that chart the course of an evolving relationship.” Awwww!
2015 Tokyo Auto Show Full Coverage