Toyota has created an amazing wooden car running on electricity that will debut in April at the Milan Design Week. The roadster is named Setsuna, which means “moment” in Japanese, and stands as a symbol for the short relationships between humans and their cars.
The unique car was designed by Kenji Tsuji, chief engineer of Toyota and designer Kota Nezu, who have previously worked on Toyota’s Camatte. Resembling an Italian speedboat, Setsuna also features smooth lines and curves made through the okuriari construction technique. Okuriari means that no screws or nails are used to bring together the pieces, but instead shapes these pieces in such a way that the whole car can hold them together.
The frame of the vehicle is made out of Japanese birch while the exterior paneling from Japanese cedar. Furthermore, the Japanese zelkova elm floor, the castor oil tree seats, and the Cyprus instrument panel blend perfectly in this remarkable creation. However, this also means that different parts of it will age differently, and the car will end up changing both its texture and its color.
As Tsuji has stated, Setsuna will develop a unique character as the years pass by. Toyota has further explained that the car has a new kind of value that the ones who own it can appreciate since it will be included in their family’s experiences and memories. In this respect, the car is equipped with a one hundred meter that will help the owners keep track of time.
As much as it all sounds wonderful, the owner will probably need another car in addition to Setsuna. The wooden car can only reach a speed of 28 miles per hour, and its six lead acid batteries can only resist for sixteen miles. Under these conditions, the company has not made it legal to drive on streets.
While Setsuna is not for sale, there have been other wooden cars in the past, mostly built by hobbyists or woodworkers. For instance, back in the 1950s, the German Fuldamobil recorded one of the longest production periods in microcar industry. More recently, the Lagonda Rapide Tulipwood Tourer from 1939 was sold in 2007 for $450,000.
According to Leela McMullen, Toyota spokeswoman, the company wishes to learn as much as it can from the unique design, as well as collect feedback from creators, designers, and experts, but also the grand public. The results may be used in future vehicles.
Image Source: Forbes
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