Toyota unveiled its latest concept car, and it’s made out of wood.
The Setsuna is an electric roadster and will be officially debuted in April during Milan Design Week, the world’s largest design exhibit.
The car’s name―Setsuna, meaning “moment” in Japanese―was chosen to reflect that people experience precious, fleeting moments together with their cars. It’s Toyota’s belief that, over time, these collective moments make their cars irreplaceable to their owners.
The two-seaters’ panels, frame, floor, and seats are all made from distinctive woods. According to Toyota, the use of wood provides benefits over conventions auto material. A wooden vehicle can last for generations. It also can change in color and texture over time in response to environmental conditions, giving wooden cars unique characteristics.
Kenji Tsuji, the Toyota engineer overseeing development of the Setsuna, said of his process: “We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different lumber materials for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. We also paid particular attention to the sizes and arrangements of individual parts.”
“For the assembly structure, we adopted a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari3 which does not use any nails or screws. The completed body line of the Setsuna expresses a beautiful curve reminiscent of a boat,” said Tsuji.
“We would also like the viewer to imagine how the Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years. The car includes a 100-year meter that will keep time over generations, and seats that combine functional beauty with the gentle hue of the wood.”
The Setsuna is a small vehicle, measuring a little more than 9.9 feet long, 4.8 feet wide, and 3.1 feet high. The wheelbase is 5.5 feet.