If Bladerunner 2049 was set in Tokyo instead of Los Angeles, the folks in the props department could have saved themselves a whole bunch of work by having Ryan Gosling slowly, slowly walk through this year’s Tokyo Auto Show. The concepts crowding the floor at the annual expo present as convincing and exciting a vision of the future as anything Denis Villeneuve and Ridley Scott could have imagined.
With the opportunity to present how they’re preparing for a changing world, Japan’s automakers have gone well beyond the typical modern idea of a “concept”, which is often just a gentle evolution of a current car, designed for a spot of market research. They’ve allowed their designers to get imaginative, to the point of near absurdity.
The results are cute, curvy, sporty, sharp, and, of course, electrified. The Honda Sports EV concept, with gorgeous squared circle rear lights, somehow mixes retro and futuristic flavors. The Suzuki Viziv Performance Concept looks set to survive any calamity that could befall the Earth, and do its work on off-world colony planets. The Daihatsu DN Pro Cargo, with a focus on utility, would fit right in on the neon-lit, crowded streets of Tokyo 2049, allowing any vendor to ply their wares on the move.
But there were also cars that give a realistic look at the design language firms are adopting. Mazda is going clean and simple with its Kai and Vision Coupe concepts. Nissan is all but promising a performance-oriented version of its all-electric Leaf.
You can click through our top picks in the gallery above. As auto shows continue to evolve their own personalities (Geneva is all about supercars, Detroit does muscle, Paris is for French élan), Tokyo is carving out a niche for cool and cute. The good news for anyone who love cars? Driving may be bound to change, but that character isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
Electric concepts might claim to be quick, but they’ve got nothing on the Bloodhound SSC, a car designed to hit 1000 mph, and which just had its public debut.
Electric cars are also going to be quiet. Perhaps too quiet, making it hard for pedestrians to hear them coming. Nissan has an answer—it’s going to give its cars a song.
Dyson, the company famous for high-end vacuum cleaners, is getting into electric vehicles. That’s not as crazy as it sounds.
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