Toyota, in cooperation with Clemson University, has unveiled a youth-oriented concept in the SAE International 2016 World Congress and Exhibition in Detroit. Called the uBox, the concept is aimed at the “Generation Z” or those born after 1995.
The uBox concept was developed and engineered by the graduate students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). Also called the Deep Orange 6, it features TeXtreme carbon fabrics in its door panels, rear hatch, dashboard, and bumpers and cladding giving the running concept significant weight savings and improved mechanical performance.
“The collaboration with Toyota was extremely fruitful. The Toyota management team constantly challenged the students with justifying their design and engineering decisions based on brand essence, real-world customers and what the students believed the future would embrace. This experience can simply not be gained from a text book,” said Paul Venhovens, endowed chair for automotive systems integration at CU-ICAR.
The uBox's exterior is designed to maximize space inside with swooping character lines featured on its side. According to Toyota, its design is bold, youthful, distinctive and aligns with generation Z's personality trait to stand out. As mentioned above, The uBox's panels use a different kind of carbon composite called TexTreme which is claimed to be lighter and more rigid than the usual carbon fiber weave. The uBox also features LED daytime running lights, suicide rear doors, and a curved glass roof with aluminum bonded carbon fiber supports.
Open the concept's doors and one will see exposed carbon fiber throughout the cabin. With versatility in mind, the interior can be rearranged for various activities, from working or operating a business, to hauling bulky cargo. A low floor allows for reconfigurable, removable seats on sliding tracks. The interior can also be personalized as panels and trims are made with 3D printing technology.
The uBox is powered by a compact, all-electric powertrain. Apart from propelling the car, the uBox can also be used as a mobile power source for consumer electronics, power tools or other devices through various 110-volt sockets located throughout the interior and exterior.