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Toyota unveils a new EV concept and it’s another ‘weird-mobile’ [Gallery]


Although Toyota is betting big on hydrogen vehicles, the Japanese automaker seems to be slowly warming up to electric vehicles as an alternative to broaden its lineup of zero-emission cars. This week, the automaker unveiled a new electric vehicle concept in partnership with Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).

Unfortunately for EV enthusiast, it’s another ‘weird-mobile’ and it’s called the uBox.

The concept is born out of a collaboration between CU-ICAR and Toyota, called Deep Orange, and its purpose is to give students hands-on experience through the entire vehicle development process.

Toyota describes the features of the uBox in a press release:

  • 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.

The company said that the vehicle was designed to appeal to the next generation of car buyers: Gen-Z (people born in the mid to late 1990s). Apparently, teens and people in their early twenties want a weird-looking car?

Here’s a gallery of the concept vehicle:

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  1. Fabian - 7 years ago


  2. nonni55 - 7 years ago

    LOOKS LIKE A SCIENCE PROJECT – We need real cars, real solutions and soon !!

  3. Anthony - 7 years ago

    I would rather eat glass than be caught dead in that.

  4. rustybeancake - 7 years ago

    Wow, they really outdid themselves with the ugliness factor. That chequered interior? Wow. Kudos. No, really, I mean it would be hard to design a worse-looking vehicle.

  5. quiviran - 7 years ago

    Pretty sure the acronym CU-ICAR is pronounced “kook car”.

  6. Eric - 7 years ago

    Calling a car ‘weird’ (or ‘not normal’ or words to that effect) says a lot about your narrow frame of reference and nothing about the car.

    • jednoucelovy - 7 years ago

      That Toyota contraption is objectively the most extreme case of ‘weird’. Take a tricorder and measure its enormous weirdness for yourself.

  7. Taylor Marks - 7 years ago

    They were trying to make something that appealed to people born in the 1990s? I did a quick check to see if they succeeded or not:

    Me (born 1992): Ugly
    Brother (born 1995): Retarded

    I asked two others (born 1993 and 2001) what they thought. They haven’t gotten back to me yet, but maybe those last two people will like it and bring up the score to 50%?

    • Taylor Marks - 7 years ago

      Sister (born 2001): Do I like what this car looks like? LOL NO.

      Still waiting on the 1993 – they work at a cellphone unfriendly place so I probably won’t hear from them for another 4 hours. I think there’s a very slight chance they might like it. Anyways, my small data set so far says that 100% of people think this car is hideous and nobody would be caught dead in it.

      • Taylor Marks - 7 years ago

        Friend (born 1993): It looks like it should be a character in Cars, crossed with a submarine. I wouldn’t drive it.

        So there we have it. 100% of the target audience wouldn’t choose to drive it, 75% straight up hate what it looks like, and the last 25% doesn’t even think it looks like a car.

  8. Nøkera - 7 years ago

    i like it. they only have to sell ~500 of them anyway. it’s utility is worth it, and it looks kind of tough and cute. I’m fine with “weird-Mobiles”, but manufacturers have to remember to build normal cars also.

  9. Dear auto manufacturers. Please make normal looking electric cars. Thanks. -Everyone

  10. Dan - 7 years ago

    Some of the quoted uBox features sound like sentences lifted from press releases for the Honda Element, the Scion and for the Smart car when they were introduced, back when they were supposed to appeal to Generation Y (or whatever letter it was). Don’t think those quite worked out. I don’t think the uBox is ugly; it’s distinctive and distinctively not what I would drive.

  11. James Rowland - 7 years ago

    Hideous. Do not want.

  12. cm477 - 7 years ago

    Ok, I give up… What is the point of the front struts that go from the front wing/fenders to the roofline? Are they meant to obstruct your view? Are they for pedestrians to hang on after you’ve plowed into them? Are they for strapping on luggage or carcasses (for hunters, in the spirit of versatility)?

  13. Khalid - 7 years ago

    Well this Gen-Z boy preordered his beautiful electric tesla model 3 a week and a half ago because 1) i love technology 2) EV’s are inevitably the future and environment friendly 3) IT ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A FUCKING CAR TO DRIVE

  14. Brian - 7 years ago

    ummmmm none of those people have seat-belts…….. guess it solves more problems than i thought

  15. Jesus Christ - 7 years ago

    Wow. I don’t normally comment but holy shit. I couldn’t stop myself with this post.

    Toyota… WHAT THE HELL!??? Are you on drugs again?
    It’s not that hard, here, I’ll even break it down for you REAL simple like…

    Step 1. Take one of your already immensely successful cars that you’ve produced and sold millions of, I’d suggest the Toyota Corolla.
    Step 2. Don’t change ANY of it’s looks and instead just make it all electric.

    THAT’S IT!

    It’s not rocket science! People don’t want this useless piece of concept crap! That’s not an electric car. That is a disgusting spew box on wheels that should be shot, dissected, crushed into a cube, have it’s source build files purged and NEVER spoken of again. Fire any person that put their support behind this because they are wrong.

    Follow the above plan and I’d bet my right nut you’d also have 325,000 pre-orders signed up for an all electric Corolla. A fantastic car that is good looking, useful, well known, tested and just also happens to now be all electric.

    ps. Don’t make it hydrogen fuel cell, that shit is DOA seriously.

    Love. Gen Z.

    • Blake - 7 years ago

      I was going to post this exact thing. I drive a 2014 Toyota Corolla. It looks fine. Make an electric version of the same and I will buy it. It’s that simple.

      Just don’t totally screw up the cargo space like Ford did with their Focus Electric (explain to me how Tesla gets two trunks with a 70-90kwh battery and the focus electric gets half of one trunk with a 23kwh battery).

  16. Kerry S Carter - 7 years ago

    Here’s a thought. Stop drinking that radioactive waste?

  17. Ben - 7 years ago

    OK, the results are in, my 5 year old has casted his vote. He said, pick another car, when I asked what he thought about it. When I asked him if he likes it he said, No! There you have it, even a 5 year old hates it, LOL.

  18. WombatCharlie - 7 years ago

    If this is for Generation Z, then one of the configurations is bound to be “Apartment,” with electric-powered stovetop, sink, and squat toilet, because that’s the only kind of housing these folks will be able to afford…

  19. Tom - 7 years ago

    To expect cars to always look exactly the same is to not understand the history of evolving human tastes and interests. It’s a demonstration of a concept, an exercise in answering a hypothetical question.

    I think it’s cool in what it’s trying to do and it almost manages to look like a futuristic kind of space rover. I, wouldn’t, however, be caught dead actually inside one, but then again, the same can be said of clothes that people were wearing everywhere as little as 10 years ago – that hardly makes it bad.

  20. Electric Feel - 7 years ago

    Toyota went “all in” for fuel cell. That was a huge gamble and mistake. IF they plan to make an actual all electric vehicle, they better start now before its too late. And I dont mean some student made concept that will never be made.

  21. hubiq - 7 years ago

    Tesla has shown that you can build electric and (at same time) normal-looking cars. And – Hey!! – the strategy seems to be successfull. Why not follow their example?! There is no need to experiment with both: design and drive. Focus on real problems first!

  22. cameronmt1 - 7 years ago

    It’s a high tech tornado intercept vehicle (Sean Casey’s “Tornado Alley” iMax movie) or an electrified Dominator (Reed Timmer of “Storm Chasers” fame)! Just think…severe weather buffs can now feel good about chasing storms and not contributing to global warming by driving this….um….something on wheels powered by electricity. Congrats, Toyota…you’ve stumbled upon a niche market…eco friendly storm chasing vehicles!! Way to go!!

  23. I’d rather be seen driving a Nissan Juke than this car… And the Juke is ugly!

  24. tommyg - 7 years ago

    it looks weirdly fun from the front ….. .the are hacking into our Power Rangers childhood !!!

  25. Nathanael - 7 years ago

    If you wanted a cool weirdmobile, you should have designed the Aptera. Or if you hate aerodynamics, go with a look like the Nissan Cube.

    This thing is ugly.

  26. Tolga - 7 years ago

    Looks like an armoren military vehicle.


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