Toyota’s new Me.We concept aims to rethink multi-purpose vehicles, with an adaptable cabin set-up and Earth-friendly components. The boxy crossover combines a light, cheap-to-produce architecture with an electric powertrain and full-recyclable body panels. A car of the future, or concept fantasy? Read on for the full story.
What’s the Toyota Me.We made of?
The Me.We uses an aluminium spaceframe chassis, covered in recyclable polypropylene panels which weigh just 14kg each. The all-up weight of the car is 750kg – 200kg lighter than a regular steel supermini like the Yaris, according to Toyota.
Inside, the Me.We uses a bamboo floor, not just for an attractive design, but for easy cleaning too. Toyota wants to show off the car’s ease-of-use credentials as well as its eco side, hence the wipe-down surfaces, low-maintenance drivetrain and multi-purpose bodystyle – it’s part convertible, part city car, part off-roader pick-up truck.
Tell me about the Toyota Me.We’s powertrain
It’s another underfloor-battery, wheel-mounted electric motor recipe. The motors are the same units used in Toyota’s i-Road three-wheeler concept seen at the 2013 Geneva motor show. Drivers can choose to either rely on two front-mounted motors for traction, or switch to a less efficient 4x4 set-up over rougher terrain.
What’s interesting about the Toyota Me.We’s cabin?
All cabin space is devoted to occupants – luggage has to go on the roof. The rear bench seat can be stored under the front seats to create a pick-up truck load bay, or removed from the car entirely. The windscreen can be opened for the full open-air beach buggy look.
Like the Renault Twin-Z concept, the Toyota Me.We opts for a minimalist, touchscreen-orientated cockpit. A screen above the steering wheel displays vehicle speed, battery charge, journey information and navigation instructions.
The heating and air conditioning are delivered by a low-energy air pump and electric seat heaters to minimise power consumption.