Although motor shows are on a global decline, the Tokyo auto event does retain a strong loyalty from domestic manufacturers.
The Japanese automotive industry has never shied away from innovation and experimentation. At the 2019 Tokyo auto show the theme is a balance between outrageous concepts and attainable electrification.
As many brands race to deliver production battery-power cars to market, the Japanese are showing a considered approach. Each Japanese company had something new to show at Tokyo. We evaluate what was revealed.
With its fourth-generation Jazz, Honda is returning to the product values which made it famous.
The new Jazz features traditionally quirky Japanese compact car styling, both inside and out. It is also embracing an electrified future, by hybridizing more derivatives.
That means when the new model arrives, next year, you will have the option on Honda’s most sophisticated petro-electric drivetrain.
This MX-30 is a very big deal for Mazda. It becomes the company’s first electric vehicle and will launch globally in 2020.
Although the 106kW electric motor isn’t overly potent and MX-30’s range from the 35.5kWh battery only reaches to 200km, it is cleverly packaged.
With rear-hinged doors, cabin access is generous. Mazda is perhaps also being visionary with its MX-30, calculating that many early electric vehicle adopters will be urbanised and won’t require a daily driving range of more than 200km.
One of the most striking vehicles to be revealed at Tokyo 2019 was from Mitsubishi, with its MI-TECH. This concept off-roader features a very interesting Roadster configuration, with open doors.
Driven by four electric motors at each wheel corner, Mitsubishi claims that the MI-TECH will have nearly unrivalled agility and manoeuvrability off-road.
The four individual electric motors give it the ability to nearly contra-rotate opposing wheels, thereby enabling a 180-degree change of direction.
Although it is partly a plug-in hybrid, there is also an onboard gas-turbine, which provides power to the electric wheel motors.
The company showed its Ariya concept crossover, which is about the size of an X-Trail and features electric motors on both axles.
Ariya’s torque distribution system is an advanced version of what Nissan originally used for the current-generation GT-R. A sleek design, the Ariya not only looks terribly futuristic but Nissan is serious about evolving this concept into a production vehicle.
As Japan’s largest car company, Toyota had a predictably strong presence at the 2019 Tokyo auto show. Its star attraction was a Lexus LF-30 concept. Powered by four hub motors totalling 400kW, the LF-30 has adaptive drive, which means it can be any configuration you require: FWD, RWD or AWD.
With a very large capacity 110kWh battery pack (that bigger than anything Tesla offers), Lexus claims the LF-30 concept should be good for a range of 500km.
Novelty features include a deployable drone, to shield you from rain or help carry shopping bags from car to home.