Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Toyota | posted April 04, 2016 12:16
Toyota defies traditional car making with Setsuna wooden concept
After providing a glimpse of their upcoming concept car last March, Toyota recently revealed several key features of the Setsuna wooden concept which will be making its world debut at the 2016 Milan Design Week.
Billed by Toyota as the concept that defies the traditional notion of cars as simply products of technology, the roadster concept features a wooden exterior and interior, along with built-in 100-year time meter.
Beginning from the outside, the Setsuna features different types of wood that is suited for each section. The body panels are made from Japanese cedar due to its vividness and flexibility as a material. The frame, on the other hand, uses Japanese birch which provides a strong rigid platform. Two kinds of grain finish can be applied on the exterior, straight or cross. According to Toyota, the former gives off a formal impression while the latter has a more irregular, free-form design.
Delivering a striking contrast to the wood panels are pieces of aluminum. Like wood, Toyota claimed that this material will also change in character over time when cared for. The center wheel caps, beltline and seat frames are made from the lightweight alloy.
Beyond that, Toyota also used traditional Japanese techniques like okuriari and kusabi. With it, they were able to join each wooden panel without using screws or nails. Also, each 86 handmade body panels can be replaced in the long run. This allows for a more distinct hue and avoids the need to replace the whole body in case of damage/s.
In terms of size, the Setsuna concept measures 3,030mm long, 1,480mm wide, 970mm tall and has a 1,700mm wheelbase.
Inside, the steering wheel, seats and dashboard are all made from wood as well. Toyota noted that it has comfortable seats akin to park benches. Japanese castor aralia was used for the backrests and seat cushions while leather provide additional refinement. Both inside and outside panels also feature wipe-lacquering.
Also found aboard the Setsuna concept is the 100-year time meter encased in aluminum. The short hand displays the time of day (one circuit is 24 hours), while the long hand shows the passing of days (one circuit is 365 days). The counter meter, on the other hand, displays how many years have already gone by. According to the automaker, this allows each owner to see how the car has aged through time.
Powering the wooden concept is an electronic powertrain though Toyota did not explain in detail its output figures and construction. In addition, Toyota stated it can be driven but it is not allowed to ply along public roads. The company is however hopeful that people can one day experience driving the wooden concept in the near future.
It is set to make its official reveal at the 2016 Milan Design Week from April 12 – 17, 2016 at the Via Tortina 31 in Milan, Italy.