The Japan Mobility Show has returned after a four-year hiatus, heralding a new era focused on electric vehicles (EVs). In this rebranded event, we’ll explore the transition and innovation within the Japanese auto industry as it faces the EV turning point.
The Japan Mobility Show 2023 is a significant event for the domestic auto industry. Toyota, the world’s leading automaker, has announced a strategic shift towards battery EVs. This includes plans to commercialize advanced batteries and embrace die-casting technology pioneered by Tesla. Toyota’s commitment to EVs has silenced critics who accused the company of being slow to adapt.
However, smaller Japanese automakers like Subaru, Mazda, and Mitsubishi Motors face a more challenging task in transitioning to EVs. The “growing gap” in the industry is evident, with stronger players like Toyota and Honda enjoying record profits while others struggle.
China’s BYD, a leading Chinese automaker, is among the foreign companies exhibiting at the show. They are showcasing battery EVs that are already in production or will soon be. This divergence highlights the need for Japanese automakers to accelerate their EV efforts.
Industry Challenges and the EV Landscape
Japan’s auto industry is under pressure from high input costs and declining sales in China, where Japanese brands like Nissan and Mitsubishi have been hit hard. New passenger car registrations in Japan hit record lows in recent years due to a rapidly aging population.
In contrast, Southeast Asia’s auto market is on the rise, with passenger vehicle sales increasing. Japanese automakers are facing tough competition from Chinese EV startups in key markets like Thailand.
Innovations on Display
Toyota is showcasing a range of battery-powered concept models, including SUVs, pickup trucks, and sports cars. They emphasize a multi-pronged approach to reduce carbon emissions, which includes battery EVs and alternative energy options. Nissan is also displaying battery-powered models and new EV concept cars.
The Future of Mobility with Honda
Toshihiro Mibe, the President of Honda Motor Co., took center stage at the show, emphasizing Honda’s commitment to shaping the future of mobility. Honda introduced foundational values, “Transcend” and “Augment,” focusing on breaking conventional limitations and empowering users. They showcased innovative mobility products, including autonomous vehicles and eco-friendly concepts.
Suzuki’s Carbon-Neutral Initiatives
Suzuki Motor Corporation’s theme for the show is “Answers for Excitement throughout the World.” They propose various mobility solutions, emphasizing their commitment to a carbon-neutral future. Suzuki is showcasing concept models of automobiles and motorcycles, as well as next-generation mobility options.
Toyota’s Vision: Changing the Future of Cars
Toyota’s booth is themed “Let’s Change the Future of Cars.” They offer an immersive experience of the mobility society of the future, including customizing mobility vehicles and interactive attractions. Toyota aims to cater to “Mobility for All” and highlight their upcoming models.
Challenges and Opportunities in EV Adoption
While Japanese automakers are making strides in the EV landscape, they face the challenge of catching up with global leaders like Tesla and BYD. Toyota has acknowledged the need to accelerate its EV development and aims for significant EV sales in the coming years. The future of the Japanese auto industry depends on how effectively they adapt to the evolving EV landscape.
In summary, the Japan Mobility Show 2023 provides a window into the evolving world of electric vehicles and mobility solutions. It underscores the challenges and opportunities that Japanese automakers face as they navigate the shifting automotive landscape.
Nissan Unveils High-Performance Nissan Hyper Force Concept at Japan Mobility Show
The Japan Mobility Show served as the grand stage for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. to unveil the Nissan Hyper Force, the culmination of its groundbreaking “hyper” concept vehicle series. Leading up to this momentous event, Nissan had been unveiling a new EV concept every week since October 3, showcasing the company’s remarkable ability to envision and cater to a diverse range of future customer needs and lifestyles.
Nissan’s President and CEO, Makoto Uchida, emphasized the profound significance of these concept cars by stating, “All five concept cars showcased today are symbols of the future and embody our founding spirit of ‘daring to do what others don’t.’ We have advanced our EV innovations, moving beyond mobility to create a more sustainable world. The EVs symbolize our future of creating a cleaner, safer, and more inclusive world for everybody without compromising on passions and dreams.”
The Nissan Hyper Force: A Game-Changing Hyper EV
The Nissan Hyper Force was created with a distinct focus on racing enthusiasts and gamers who seek the adrenaline rush of the racetrack while remaining steadfastly eco-conscious. It’s an all-electric high-performance supercar designed to deliver the ultimate driving experience, exceptional environmental performance, and everyday comfort.
At its core, this concept boasts a high-output all-electric powertrain featuring an all-solid-state battery capable of delivering an astounding 1,000 kW, ensuring precise and rapid acceleration. The incorporation of advanced technologies like Nissan’s e-4ORCE all-wheel control and a lightweight body constructed from high-strength carbon promises unrivaled handling and cornering capabilities, whether on circuits or winding roads.
The exterior design is a captivating blend of sleek curves merging seamlessly with bold geometric elements, not only ensuring a striking visual impression but also contributing to high aerodynamic performance. Uniquely designed active aero components, plasma actuators, and lightweight forged carbon wheels further elevate this concept’s performance.
The Nissan Hyper Force offers two distinct driving modes: “R” (racing) and “GT” (grand touring), each featuring a tailored user interface designed to complement specific driving circumstances. In “R” mode, the cabin is bathed in red light, creating an intuitive cockpit environment focused on concentration. Meanwhile, the “GT” mode offers a comfortable and immersive driving experience, accompanied by blue cabin illumination.
Safety is of paramount importance in this concept, featuring advanced autonomous driving capabilities with hyper LIDAR and a suite of sensors optimized for sports driving. This ensures a high level of safety whether on public roads or the racetrack.
Additionally, Nissan introduces an innovative augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experience that seamlessly bridges the gap between the real and virtual worlds. When the vehicle is at a standstill, drivers can wear a special helmet with blind visors for VR, offering an immersive and gamified driving experience that includes racing against the clock or competing with online racers. Using skeleton visors for AR, drivers can challenge themselves by racing against their own, their friends, or even professional drivers’ digital ghosts on real-world tracks, providing a safe environment for honing their driving skills.
In essence, the Nissan Hyper Force represents a paradigm shift in the performance car genre, meticulously tailored to cater to the ever-evolving preferences of environmentally conscious customers. With its commitment to eco-friendliness, electrifying performance, and cutting-edge safety features, this concept car encapsulates Nissan’s vision for a next-generation all-electric high-performance supercar.
The Debut of the Japan Mobility Show: A Glimpse into the Near Future
The Japan Mobility Show marked a significant debut as it showcased the country’s carmakers previewing the near future of mobility. This rebranded event, previously known as the biennial Tokyo Motor Show, took a fresh start after the cancellation of the 2021 edition due to the pandemic.
The concept of mobility was broadened to encompass everything from flying taxis to high-tech wheelchairs and self-driving hypercars. However, one of the most notable trends at the show was the embrace of video game culture and aesthetics, led by Nissan. The manufacturer not only bestowed its five concepts with their Manga-style avatars but also announced their integration into the online world of Fortnite as player-operated vehicles.
As the new decade began, the approach to mobility and the automotive industry underwent significant changes, with numerous innovations and concepts unveiled at the show. The show report covered an array of concepts from various automakers, including Lexus, Toyota, Honda, and, notably, Nissan. Each of these concepts provided unique insights into the future of mobility and showcased the diversity of the industry’s response to evolving customer needs and preferences.
Lexus: Paving the Way for a New Era of Car Design
Lexus, the luxury automaker, unveiled two concepts that provided a glimpse into near-future models, both sharing a common design language and overall feel. The Lexus LF-ZC, a battery-electric saloon concept, offered strong hints about its 2026 production equivalent. In contrast, the Lexus LF-ZL, an electric SUV, was poised to become the luxury brand’s new flagship model.
The Lexus LF-ZC stood out with its lower and sportier profile, reflecting Lexus’ “Provocative Simplicity” design theme. The cabin featured the first iteration of the new Arena OS, a digital portal designed to evolve with the owner and adapt to their driving style. On the other hand, the Lexus LF-ZL focused on enhancing the back seat experience, featuring a sliding rear door that provided access to a cozy, split-material environment inspired by the Japanese concept of Omotenashi, or mindful hospitality.
Both concepts introduced an innovative approach to manufacturing, dividing each vehicle body into three parts: front, center, and rear, with the battery pack housed in the center. A notable innovation was the introduction of the ‘self-driving assembly line,’ where cars autonomously moved through the production process, eliminating the need for traditional conveyors.
Toyota: A Range of Mobility Solutions for All Scales
Toyota’s lineup of concepts spanned from large to micro-sized solutions, including an electric bike, the JUU electric wheelchair concept, an electric iteration of the iconic Land Cruiser, a new pick-up truck concept, and a folding tricycle. Among these, the Land Cruiser Se, an evolution of Toyota’s renowned off-roader, stood out. With a history dating back to 1951, this new iteration retained its rugged characteristics while accommodating seven passengers, positioning itself as a formidable electric SUV.
At the other end of the spectrum was the Land Hopper, an electric three-wheeler designed for last-mile mobility, capable of being stored in a car or pick-up. Targeted at markets like Japan, this innovative vehicle aimed to cater to all age groups, maximizing independence.
Toyota also provided a glimpse into future passenger cars with the Toyota FT-Se and Toyota FT-3e concepts. The former was a crossover-style SUV with portable power capabilities, while the latter, a sports car concept, rekindled the enthusiasm for electric performance vehicles.
Honda: Celebrating 75 Years of Mobility Design
Honda, marking its 75th anniversary in 2023, celebrated the occasion by unveiling a range of new mobility products and concepts. These innovations spanned e-VTOL aircraft, autonomous mobility solutions for the elderly, robotic assistants, micro-trucks, and pocket-sized bikes. In addition, Honda introduced an AI-driven forum that encouraged show visitors to create their own visions of the future.