Toyota ME.WE Concept
Polypropylene body panels and bamboo surfaces don't seem like the proper parts for a road-worthy vehicle, but Toyota says otherwise.
Toyota just revealed its latest electric concept vehicle and describes this machine as a city car, convertible, pick-up and 4x4 rolled into one tiny package that tips the scales at only 1,700 pounds.
Called the ME.WE Concept, this tiny machine is dubbed the "anti-excess" vehicle. French architect Jean-Marie Massaud assisted Toyota in designing the ME.WE with the ethos of "do more and create better while using less" driving all decisions made in the design and engineering processes.
The ME.WE features a tubular aluminum chassis with interchangeable polypropylene body panels. The panels weigh a total of only 31 pounds and can be swapped out to suit your style. The interior is as sparse as we ever seen in recent times and it harkens back to the bygone days when vehicles had little more than a steering wheel, a speedometer, a few seats and some pedals inside.
The ME.WE concept uses in-wheel electric motors and has the ability to offer on-demand 4WD. The use of in-wheel motors eliminates the need for a transmission and the additional gear required for a 4WD setup.
Bamboo from "renewable sources" is featured on the cabin's horizontal surfaces, as well as outside making up the hood and roof of the ME.WE.
Okay, so we understand how the ME.WE is a city car and a 4x4, but we don't quite get the convertible or pick-up aspects. Toyota does say that a convertible effect can be achieved by lowering all of the windows, including the windscreen and there's some sort of tailgate-like part out back, but we're not buying the pick-up claim.
Regardless, the ME.WE is a nifty concept and we like the fact that its all about "anti-excess," especially when everything else these days seems to be excessive.
Gallery: Double Click to Enlarge