Would the recently previewed (almost) all-wood-everything Toyota Setsuna concept roadster even call for an auto body repair technician’s expertise following an accident? Or would a master carpenter somehow be cheaper and more appropriate?
The latest fruit to fall from the minds of Toyota chief engineer Kenji Tsuji and znug design’s Kota Nezu made its debut during Design Week in Milan, Italy, and what a handsome, curious devil it is. The dynamic design duo’s follow-up to their imaginative 2013 Toyota Camatte calls upon five kinds of wood to make their all-natural vision a reality…but no nails or screws. The classical Japanese joinery technique of “okuriari” holds together the Japanese cedar exterior panels, Japanese birch frame and floors fashioned from Japanese zelkova, an elm wood, using concave and convex shapes.
THE TOYOTA SETSUNA
- Cedar exterior panels
- Birch frame
- Elm floors
- Instrument panel fashioned from castor oil tree
- Cypress steering wheel and front seats
- Powered by six 12V lead-acid batteries with 25 km fully charged range, 45 km/h (28 mph) top speed.
- Fully adjustable seat and pedals
On the inside, leather upholstery and machined aluminum parts complement the stylish Japanese cypress steering wheel and front seats and instrument panel fashioned from the wood of a castor oil tree. Most incredible of all, this sporty auto body experiment is 100% functional. In fact, the Setsuna’s pedals and seat can adjust to accommodate even a child-sized driver. It may not be street legal, but the car is electrically powered by six 12-volt, lead-acid batteries with a combined 25 km range and top speed hovering around 45 km/h (28 mph).
Intriguing as it should prove to be to auto body repair experts everywhere, the Setsuna concept is more a Toyota experiment in farming design feedback than anything. Tokyo-based Toyota spokesperson Leela McMullen explained that the Japanese automaker plans to take expert designers’ critiques to heart alongside those of the general public when innovating future vehicles.
Of course, don’t go trading in your Prius just yet. To the chagrin of woodworkers and auto body repair technicians everywhere, the Toyota Setsuna is not for sale.