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Published on April 24th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Toyota ‘ME.WE’ is shown with details

Toyota has just shown a quirky little electric car which might see production soon. This new concept car from Toyota is very un-Toyota! Toyota’s concepts are often a lot more edgy and futuristic looking. In contrast, the ME.WE’s boxy proportions, earthy color scheme and simplistic interior appear to hark back to European trendy cars of the 1960s, like the Mini Moke and Fiat 650. There is, of course, more to the ME.WE than meets the eye. It’s as high-tech as any other Toyota concept, and almost certainly greener too. It comes with an electric powertrain, using in-wheel motors borrowed from the Toyota i-Road concept, and under-floor batteries as seen in the Toyota iQ EV cars.

With a motor for each wheel, the ME.WE offers the option of two or four-wheel drive, when required, without the weight penalty such a system would usually demand. Lack of any intrusive drivetrain elements also allows more of the car’s volume to be used for interior space. The tubular aluminum structure and polypropylene panels keep weight to a minimum, just 1,653 pounds, only 31 lbs of which are the body panels.

Bamboo is used throughout the interior, both “renewable and aesthetically pleasing”, according to Toyota. The body panels are 100 percent recyclable, heating and air conditioning use a low-energy pump, and heated seats are used to keep power use to a minimum. For those sunny days or carefully-staged trips to the beach with your brochure-perfect friends, all the windows can be dropped, even the windshield. That’s sure to improve the ambience of the already-airy interior, which uses a minimalist smartphone display to provide the driver with information.

A product of Toyota and architect Jean-Marie Massaud, the ME.WE concept seeks to be adaptable to the driver’s lifestyle, reflect the attitudes of forward thinking drivers unobsessed by status, and reduce the trend for excess in car design. Simplified, Toyota says it represents a transition from a culture of “more” to the culture of “better”. This car could be a best seller with the young and trendy new age buyers.


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