Toyota Unveils Gen-Z Focused Plug-In Electric Concept Car

APR 14 2016 BY MARK KANE 53

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

We didn’t expect a new pure electric Toyota, but one has been developed by Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in partnership with Toyota Motor North America.

Meet the uBox concept, designed to meet needs of generation-Z.

“Most of Toyota’s North American vehicles are engineered in Southeast Michigan. The newest concept to wear the automaker’s famous badge, however, has its roots firmly planted in the red clay of South Carolina.

Designed, engineered and hand-built by graduate students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), the vehicle is the result of a two-year collaboration with Toyota Motor North America designers and engineers. The result is an innovative, flexible concept called uBox that is intended to appeal to the next generation of car buyers: Gen-Z.

The CU-ICAR / Toyota collaboration, called Deep Orange, immerses students into every aspect of automotive development – from market research and design studies to engineering design and manufacturing.”

Johnell Brooks, an associate professor in Clemson’s graduate engineering program said:

“Deep Orange gives students’ hands-on experience with the entire vehicle development process, from identifying the market opportunity through the vehicle build. It’s like automotive boot camp for the real world, and it wouldn’t happen without industry partners like Toyota.”

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept – CHAdeMO charger

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

No details about the drivetrain nor battery were released (which seems like kind of a shame all things considered), but uBox seems to be made to be functional:

“The typical customer for uBox is a young entrepreneur who wants a vehicle that can provide utility and recreation on the weekend but that can also offer office space or other career-centric or lifestyle uses during the week.

Some of the many features of uBox include:

  • A bold, youthful and distinctive exterior design that aligns with generation Z’s personality trait to stand out, embodying a muscular stance that looks like it’s sprung forward in motion, even when standing still.
  • A versatile interior that can be rearranged for various activities, from working or operating a business, to hauling bulky cargo. A low floor allows for reconfigurable, removable seats on sliding tracks that can be nested.
  • Vents, dashboard display bezels and door trim that can be personalized and made with 3-D printing technology, and an online community for owners where they can share design ideas.
  • A compact, dual-purpose, all-electric powertrain providing a fun driving experience and emission-free stationary energy to power consumer electronics, power tools or other devices through various 110-volt sockets located throughout the interior and exterior.

One feature in particular caught the attention of Toyota Executive Program Manager Craig Payne, a unique pultrusion technique developed by the students that allows composite carbon fiber rails bonded with aluminum to support a curved glass roof.”

Toyota Executive Program Manager Craig Payne said:

“The roof pultrusion was something unexpected and very interesting when they first started talking about the concept. The fact that they were able to achieve an industry-first manufacturing technique as students speaks volumes for this program.”

Paul Venhovens, endowed chair for automotive systems integration at CU-ICAR said:

“The collaboration with Toyota was extremely fruitful. The Toyota management team constantly challenged the students with justifying their design and engineering decisions based on brand essence, real-world customers and what the students believed the future would embrace. This experience can simply not be gained from a text book.”

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

Categories: Toyota


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53 Comments on "Toyota Unveils Gen-Z Focused Plug-In Electric Concept Car"

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Pre-orders!!! Where do I go!?!

Ah. You sooo funny! 😀

Could they UGLY it Up Any more than they Have???? I THINK N0T!!!!!!

Is it Star War or Star Trek?

buckaroo banzai

Naw, think lower budget. It’s got a touch of Ark II in it… Imagine it in white:

the last Gen Z car, the Scion, did so well too

The 80’s called. They want their “futuristic movie car” design back… :oP

That’s exactly what I thought!

Put some bull bars on the front and I’d think it was a prop for a RoboCop remake.

And what do the struts in front of the windhield do? Introduce drag, reduce visibility, make it hard to clean….

I wonder about that, too. My best guess is they are air vanes to smooth the air around the A pillars? The hood is a air intake, so maybe the idea is to shift the air from going over the top, to around the sides.


Doesn’t look very aerodynamic either.

It’s an ATV with air conditioning, camouflage paint job, built in cooler and gun racks…will make it an off road hunting vehicle.

I think they can put the veil back on that one…

I also have to wonder if the design wouldn’t be less aggressive and “muscular” if women had been present on the design team. I doubt women with children care about being able to convert the passenger capacity from home-away-from-home office to off-road SUV, but perhaps Gen-Z isn’t old enough to have those concerns yet.

Yes, a weird mobile.

Groovy design! I like it, though it does need a little refinement.

They may be able to sell 10-20 of these per year…

That would still make it a tough competitor to the Mirai

Suddenly the Mirai doesn’t look as ugly as it used to . . .

The interior is kind of interesting. But between that hideous front end, the struts blocking part of the view out the windshield, and the suicide doors that are one of my major dislikes with our BMW i3, I’d say this still needs a LOT of work.

Toyota, you make EVs sexy, damm hot!

You’re drunk, Toyota. Go home!

An Aztec and a Humvee walk into a bar…

HAH! Excellent! 😀

its fugly

As a middle aged white guy with kids, I agree!

Could just be that I’m not in the target market.

Encouraging that the vehicle was conceived as an EV rather than FCV.

Kudos to all the students, advisors and team!

Paging Akio Toyoda! Paging Akio Toyoda!

Your clinic called. It’s time to take your medication.

And of *course* it looks like a…


What the **** *is* that thing?

Nobody said that this concept car is about to go on sale. Students designed and built it, how about people back off a bit and recognize what was being attempted here–to learn how to develop, not to sell this car. These kids deserve credit for coming up with the vehicle, as I am sure it can offer a true learning experience for them. As I said, back off a bit and let the kids do their thing.

Toyota is a punching bag for EV fans due to their lack of any good plug-in offerings.

Very reminiscent of the Brubaker Box kit car from the 70’s. Remember the TV show “Ark II”?

It gives new meaning to the phrase “thinking outside the box.”

Burn it with fire! absolutely terrible. This is why some people don’t find jobs after College.

It’s a stealth car!

Apparently I have no taste (at least according to the commenters on this site): I actually like a lot of what I see! Looks very practical, flexible, raised clearance so done off-road ability. The system to work on a laptop in the car I’ve definitely wanted more than once. One way to improve it would be to add a 240v outlet, though a proper 120V outlet would be very useful. Include one in the car too so I can plug in a cooler etc. I even like the look of the outside.

Then we are two (at least).
The concept is good, at first I found the design awkward but that’s because I compared it to your usual car with a bonnet to hide the ICE.
There is no need for it in an EV unless you do not want to confuse narrow-minded people. Tesla kept the bonnet and use it for cargo.

Good concept that will need some refinement like every concept. Toyota will have hard time to convince deniers.

About 6 months ago I found a current generation Toyota RAV 4 EV parked in the CU-ICAR parking garage, plugged in at one of the L2 stations. I though that it was a rather odd vehicle to see all the way in South Carolina, especially with a South Carolina license plate. I bet the guts of that RAV-4 ended up in that “concept car”…

No, the RAV-4 is still around. I am just glad they finally moved the LEAF that had taken residence at the CHAdeMO charger! Only sat there for a few months.

That will save me a trip…. I was curious to see if it was still around.

There are plenty of 2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 EVs around the world. Here’s a map of all the Rav} EVs are around the world that have CHAdeMO capability:

I’ll wait for the hydrogen version to buy one 😉

From a post apocalyptic nightmare, I once had.
Same color too. Irradiation green.

Shouldn’t this vehicle be roving around Mars?

Not sure even Elon would find it “compelling”. 😉

Those rear seats appear to be only for Much younger students.

This will be in the next Mad Max movie.

It all makes senses now.

If Toyota concepts look like this one, no wonder Toyota cars are getting uglier each and every generation…

Just shows how far behind Toyota are. We’re trying to make EVs not quirky and then they unveil this… thing?! Get with the program, Toyota! It’s almost as if they want EVs to fail!

scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!)

That is uGly.

Is that a prius/rav4EV shifter on the dash? they must have plenty of overstock on these.

Not even worthy for a museum. Belongs with the Mirai – crushed for recycling.
Toyota is just getting further and further behind.

It will all make sense in the second presentation!