Toyota Setsuna concept

A wooden time machine on wheels
By Imran Malik, Features Writer
|
April 03, 2016
Supplied
Supplied(1/3)
Supplied
Supplied(2/3)
Supplied
Supplied(3/3)

We all get attached to our cars over time and to embody this affection that we develop, Toyota has built a concept… out of wood. It must have been a slow week in Aichi, Japan.

It’s called the Setsuna (that means ‘moment’ in Japanese) and is set to make its first appearance at Milan Design Week from April 11 to 17. There’ll be a bunch of wacky things on show from furniture to fashion houses – but surely none will be as curious as this concept. The reason the two-seater, electric powered car is made of wood is because it’s durable but pertinently, it’s prone to change over time which reflects Toyota’s efforts to give form to the developing relationships and experiences people share with their cars. Ahhh, sweet isn’t it?

The auto giant selected a host of distinctive types of wood to use to build different parts of the car such as the exterior panels, frame, floor, and seats. The material can last many generations and it changes in coloration and texture in response to its environment, taking on a unique character and depth.

For the assembly structure, Toyota adopted a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari which does not use any nails or screws. The car includes a 100-year meter that will keep time over generations, and features seats with the gentle hue of the wood.

“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,” said Kenji Tsuji, the Toyota engineer overseeing development of the Setsuna.

What do we make of it all? We’re not sure. But, you better watch out for splinters. Oh, and best keep it away from fire…