Toyota Setsuna debuts at Milan.
Combining wood, carbon fiber, electric motors and lead-acid batteries, Toyota designed a wooden electric concept for Milan Design Week
Ahead of the Milan Design Week, Toyota teased its latest electric vehicle concept — the Setsuna. Unlike its popular Prius, the Setsuna concept is crafted primarily from wood and aluminum — with Japanese cedar for exterior panels, and birch for the frame. The materials were chosen for the way that they age. The engineer that oversaw this concept’s development, Kenji Tsuji, emphasized this idea when he said, “We would also like the viewers to imagine how the Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years.” To keep track of its age, a 100-year meter was installed upon completion.
On the mechanical side of things, the Setsuna has more in common with electric vehicles from the past than the future, according to Forbes — with six lead-acid batteries powering the electric motor. Range is reported at a meek 15.5 miles on a charge, but at it’s 28-mph top speed, that will come quickly.
All the wood is kept together with traditional Japanese joints called “okuriari” instead of mechanical fasteners. The okuriari joint is similar to the dovetail joint, which locks wooden pieces in place with interlocking shapes. Of course, the aluminum trim, headlights and other non-wooden parts have nuts, bolts and screws keeping them in place on the wooden hull.
For a better look, we’ll have to wait until Setsuna is unveiled at the Milan Design Week in Italy this April.