One (not the) car of the future will be extremely low cost, extremely simple, extremely light, it won’t need maintenance, it will be extremely cheap to fix – or so cheap, that it can be tossed when broken. It could look something like the Me.We, a concept car developed by the French architect and designer Jean-Marie Massaud for Toyota.
The car consists of a tubular aluminum structure that carries interchangeable body panels designed in expanded polypropylene. Yes, Styrofoam. The car weighs only 1,650 lbs, the car body itself weighs only 31 lbs. Floor, roof, hood are made from wood, actually from bamboo, wood that grows like weed.
The car can be turned into a pickup, a convertible, an off-roader a small city car.
Massaud’s car is powered by electric wheel hub motors, but that’s not the important part. More important is that there is no adjustable suspension, no panoply of plugs, switches, no electric motors for any and everything that add to the weight clever engineers just have saved. No other technical data are available. “The car drives,” is all a Toyota spokesperson would confirm to Der Spiegel.
We’ll probably never see that car. But it points to one part of the automotive future. Whether we like it, or not.