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Toyota ME.WE Electric Car Concept: Green From The Wheels Up

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The Toyota ME.WE isn't your typical Toyota concept car.

In fact, were it not for the word Toyota appearing at the top of this page, you might have assumed the quirky little electric car was from another maker entirely.

Toyota's concepts are often a lot more edgy and futuristic looking, like its Shanghai Auto Show exhibits. By contrast, the ME.WE's boxy proportions, earthy color scheme and simplistic interior appear to hark back to European beach cars of the 1960s, like the Mini Moke and Fiat Jolly.

There is, of course, more to the ME.WE than meets the eye. It's as high-tech as any other Toyota concept, and almost certainly greener too.

It starts with the electric powertrain, using in-wheel motors borrowed from the Toyota i-Road concept, and under-floor batteries as seen in the Toyota and Scion iQ EV models.

With a motor for each wheel, the ME.WE offers the option of two or four-wheel drive, when required--without the weight penalty such a system would usually demand. Lack of any intrusive drivetrain elements also allows more of the car's volume to be used for interior space.

The tubular aluminum structure and polypropylene panels keep weight to a minimum--just 1,653 pounds, only 31 lbs of which are the body panels

Bamboo is used throughout the interior, both "renewable and aesthetically pleasing", according to Toyota. The body panels are 100 percent recyclable, heating and air conditioning use a low-energy pump, and heated seats are used to keep power use to a minimum.

For those sunny days or carefully-staged trips to the beach with your brochure-perfect friends, all the windows can be dropped--even the windshield. That's sure to improve the ambience of the already-airy interior, which uses a minimalist smartphone display to provide the driver with information.

A product of Toyota and architect Jean-Marie Massaud, the ME.WE concept seeks to be adaptable to the driver's lifestyle, reflect the attitudes of forward thinking drivers unobsessed by status, and reduce the trend for excess in car design.

Simplified, Toyota says it represents a transition from a culture of "more" to the culture of "better".

Wouldn't you prefer a ME.WE to a Yaris?...

+++++++++++

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Comments (13)
  1. Very kawaii. I really like the idea of a textured body surface, instead of the shiny hard metal surface like almost all cars except the Think City have.
     
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  2. "A product of Toyota and Massaud" The Israeli security force? cool :)
     
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  3. Whoops. My bad. I'd missed the part explaining that Massaud is actually architect Jean-Marie Massaud...
     
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  4. Does it have a Tesla drivetrain? This is some kind of a joke, right?
     
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  5. Finally a Toyota concept that I support....
     
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  6. Bamboo floors? Lving in China and seeing what Bamboo is - both in the wild and in consumer products - I have just two short comments:

    1: Which insurance policy - homeowners or auto - covers liability for splinters?

    2: I can just hear it now: "Honey, the termites ate the car."
     
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  7. heheh. Funny. I don't think termites are issues until you park the car over dirt for a long time (subterrain termites need mud tunnels to survive since they need moisture from the ground)

    But remember the original Model A had wood floors and some of the original car wheels were made of hickory as well... :)

    They can use the same technology as strand woven bamboo like those in the bamboo flooring and they can be hard and strong. But it will be a bit heavier.

    I have 2 concerns with bamboo as well. 1. Fire hazard. 2. Extremely cold/dry weather in the long term will cause cracking with bamboo that is NOT properly treated. It will warp.
     
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  8. The early Fords did have wood floors but that wood was treated with some pretty noxious chemicals to preserve it - chemicals that, if even allowed now, would certainly turn off anyone environmentally conscious enough to consider buying this car.

    I live in Arizona and the termites here are very adept at eating any wood laying around. To protect the bamboo in this car they would have to treat it with a combination of Cyanide and Agent Orange. Until they find a way to protect the wood better I will rely on the termites not having an appetite for metal.
     
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  9. strand woven bamboo...

    Well, at least you don't have to worry about Subterranean Termites...
     
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  10. I can't believe I'm the only one who thinks this car is "odd", as in Toyota needed to come up with another compliance car and they REALLY didn't want anyone to buy it. I would give it an award for " best concept car based on an Oreo cookie".
     
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  11. You're not the only one. To me, it's another Jokemobile that seems forced to be either a compliance car or just another addition to the "EVs are all tiny, quirky, and slow" myth that no one's buying anymore.
    We all know Toyota could try and make a Tesla-beater if they wanted to. The old, "The technology's not there yet" line doesn't wash anymore.
     
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  12. I love it. I hope they bring it to market because it's exactly what I want from a car, EV or not. I hope Tesla does something similar with their Gen 3 mass market, "low cost" design. I'd rather buy a Tesla than any other brand, but I'm priced out.
     
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  13. " I'd rather buy a Tesla than any other brand, but I'm priced out."
    Me too. So I keep buying lotto tickets.
     
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