JMS: From Motor to Mobility
It’s going to take us a while to get over the fact that auto shows are now becoming “mobility” shows.
A transformation is what we are witnessing, and it’s happening for a lot -if not all- of Japan’s major automakers. At least that’s how we’re seeing things evolve at the Japan Mobility Show… formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show.
Historically, the Tokyo Motor Show has been the launchpad for new models from major Japanese automakers such as Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and more. But in the last few editions, we’ve been noticing that the notion of the vehicle launch has been changing here. Now they’ve totally embraced it and gone full mobility with JMS.
Nissan, for instance, didn’t really launch anything you can buy in the showroom now, next year, or even two years from now. They instead took the opportunity to show how they’re rethinking the automobile -specifically the EV automobile- and how it can be tailored to fit different lifestyles.
They had 5 prepared for JMS, two of which are virtual: the Hyper Adventure (for active outdoorsy people) and the Hyper Urban (for professionals in the city). The physical concept included the Hyper Punk which is something we can refer to as a car for the Tiktok/Z/IG generation with its configurable displays and the like.
For us who aren’t thinking about that future just yet, there are two of interest. The Hyper Force concept was revealed at the show, and clearly just by looking at the styling cues we can say it will be the future Nissan GT-R. Yes, they’re working on the electric system (specifically the solid-state batteries) for it to be able to deliver up to 1360 PS. But for those looking for a rival to the Alphard, then the Hyper Tourer will be the one to keep an eye on because it’s the future of the Nissan Elgrand.
So Nissan is keeping an eye on the future while giving us a glimpse of what we want in the next year or so. Such is also the case for Mitsubishi Motors which brought to the motorshow a lot of production models. Actually, they launched the new generation Triton pick-up in Japan and displayed their rally version for the Triton and the Delica.
But really, the Delica is the star of the Mitsubishi booth because they had the rally version, the Delica Mini (that we really wish we had in the Philippines) as well as the D:X Concept. This futuristic concept van previews the future of the Delica model range, one that traces its history to even the L300 (also known as Delica in Japan) we have in the Philippine market.
The best part is the confirmation we got from the chief designer that there will be a version that will have the steering wheel on the left side for markets such as ours. Needless to say, we will be very excited at any future developments from Mitsubishi regarding the Delica. We are very much a van market after all.
But if there’s a company at JMS that really embodies “mobility” in its holistic sense, it has to be Honda. While many automakers typically produce just four-wheeled vehicles and are just starting to get involved in other forms of personal mobility, Honda has been doing this in every way already. Honda makes cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, and even riding lawnmowers. They make engines for go-karts, generators, Formula One cars, and even for boats.
At the Japan Mobility Show, Honda showcased as much as they can. They had an aerial vehicle scaled down to look more like a drone. There were motorcycles and bicycles. They also had an autonomous taxi and an electric car and scooter combination that really reminded me of the City hatchback from the 80’s and the Motocompo.
What really got the attention of us car enthusiasts (apart from the personal mobility device that looks like a collab with Toto) was the white coupe at the booth. It looked more like a prototype than a concept car, and it brings back a very familiar name: Prelude. We initially thought it was going to be an EV, but it seems it will be a hybrid. That one should be fun.
From many of the brands, we got a glimpse at what the future holds particularly when it comes to electric vehicles. And if there’s one field that could really make use of the technology, it has to be the commercial vehicle sector. That’s exactly what Isuzu is embracing.
While Isuzu is known as the authority in diesel power and heavy-duty vehicles, EVs really have big potential in what they specialize in because of the torque and emissions. So Isuzu went to JMS with a fuel cell version of the Giga tractor-head truck. This FCEV was developed with Honda and will use hydrogen as fuel to generate electricity. The only emission is water.
Then there are electric versions of their other vehicles, including the Erga EV bus concept. This is something that would do well in a city environment. But what will generate quite a bit of interest has to be the Elf Mio.
The Isuzu Elf is the Japanese version of the N-Series that we have, but the Mio designation means this is a smaller version; one that is similar to the Traviz in size.
There really is a lot that was showcased at the Japan Mobility Show from all of Japan’s automakers. Mazda paid tribute to all things roadster, and they took the opportunity to show the Iconic SP concept that comes powered by a twin rotary engine and an electric drive system.
Subaru had various production models at their booth, but what caught our eye was the Air Mobility Concept which seems like a throwback to their aviation origins. There was also the Sport Mobility Concept that somehow resembles the 959 from Porsche.
Fuso also had a big showing at JMS with the latest Super Great and the third-generation eCanter electric truck. What we liked was the battery swapping station that allows a logistics company to switch batteries in just 5 minutes in the eCanter.
Toyota had the production models of the Land Cruiser Prado, as well as various concepts that included a cargo configuration of the IMV 0 which will enter production in the Philippines as the Tamaraw around November 2024.
All in all, the Japan Mobility Show is a good showing from the auto industry of the land of the rising sun, but there is no doubt still has the feel of a motor show in Tokyo. What they are establishing is a direction for the future, and given the transformation that the industry is undergoing, who knows what the 2025, 2027, 2029, and future editions will hold. Maybe by then we can actually walk into a showroom and purchase a personal aerial vehicle, a high-performance FCEV that emits just water, or a normal-looking vehicle that is actually amphibious.
The mobility part is really a concept about how they are reimagining things, and that’s what we’ll see at JMS from here on out.