Over its past few occurrences, the biennial Tokyo auto show seemed to be dropping off the radars of many international carmakers, losing out to the auto shows in China. But now it’s back, thanks to a beautiful venue and a Japanese auto industry that is regaining its strength. A good measure of a show’s importance is the effort carmakers put into bringing specifically designed concept cars. And as far as boldness goes, this angry-looking pod that Mercedes-Benz has designed for Tokyo is definitely on the brash end of the scale.
Dubbed an “homage to the urban Generation Z” (people born since 1995), the Vision Tokyo Concept seems to be as much an homage to a bread box. It’s a whole lot bigger, though: At a length of 189.1 inches, a height of 63.0 inches, and a width of a full 82.7 inches, Daimler’s concept is impressively large. Passengers enter through the left side of the vehicle, which swings open in a move that makes the Tesla Model X’s “falcon doors” look downright conventional. Giant, 26-inch wheels and whimsical light effects on the grille, wheels, and rear window complete the futuristic appearance.
The windows are coated, creating a smooth surface reminiscent ofDaimler’s F 015 concept unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. And like the F 015, the Tokyo concept is designed to be autonomously driven—although it is possible to get behind a steering wheel and drive it yourself. Conceptually, it’s fitted with an electric powertrain driven by a hydrogen fuel cell; the theoretical range is more than 600 miles.
A peek inside reveals that any semblance of a conventional front/rear seating arrangement has been ditched in favor of a couch wrapped around a central area designed to allow the passengers to play with an assortment of electronic gizmos. The lounge-style arrangement is supposed to bring people together, as Daimler believes that “even though the members of ‘Generation Z’ are frequent users of social media, they nevertheless prefer personal contact whenever possible.” We hope so, too.
The Vision Tokyo doesn’t hint at any upcoming production car, but we think it’s great that Benz decided to show yet another fantasy machinethat hints at cars that are decades away, not a few years. And if you’re not entirely convinced by what the Vision Tokyo has to offer in its present state, Daimler promises that “innovative algorithms allow it to evolve constantly.”