The Toyota Me.We concept has been unveiled in Paris, revealing a minimalist compact vehicle capable of being a small city car, an off-roader, a ute and a convertible.
Powered by four electric motors – one in each wheel, like the recently unveiled Toyota i-Road – and with its batteries located under the floor like in the Toyota iQ, the five-seat Toyota Me.We concept is intended to be a, "no frills response to the ecological threats posed by mass production and the growth of the global car fleet”.
Named for both individual freedom (Me) and social responsibility (We), Toyota says the concept, a joint venture between Toyota and European industrial designer Jean-Marie Massaud, aims to better accommodate the automotive needs of people by eliminating excess in a package that reconciles driving pleasure with environmental responsibility.
Constructed using lightweight, robust and recyclable materials, including a tubular aluminium structure, expanded polypropylene body panels, and a bamboo floor and dashboard, the Me.We is much lighter than conventional vehicles, with Toyota saying the Yaris-sized concept car could weigh as little as 750kg.
With passenger comfort still a priority, luggage can be carried on the car’s roof in a protected neoprene cover, or in an extended rear luggage space that can be configured to form a ute-like tray platform. Bench seats – also constructed from expanded polypropylene – can also be removed.
The Japanese manufacturer says the Me.We concept also offers the "wind-in-the-hair" experience of a convertible simply by opening all the windows, including the windscreen, while thanks to its in-wheel electric motor design, two- or four-wheel drive is available giving the car the ability to cope with varying terrains.
Vehicle instrumentation is limited to a single screen above the steering wheel that displays vehicle speed, battery charge, trip information and navigation instructions through a smartphone connection, which also takes care of climate control and audio functions.
Jean-Marie Massaud said today's cars have become an accumulation of constraints more than a source of freedom.
"Our lives and needs require more adaptability, simplicity and lightness.
"The car of today should be seen as a personal mobility solution that can deliver more."
The Toyota Me.We was unveiled at its Paris showroom on the Avenue des Champs-elysees where it will be displayed until June 12.
While Toyota claims the Me.We as a “realistic concept car”, there are no plans for it to enter production.
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