Tokyo Motor Show to highlight ‘green’ vehicles and AI in cars

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 7:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 7:52am

The Tokyo Motor Show opened to the press on Wednesday with carmakers showcasing eco-friendly cars amid tighter emissions regulations across the globe while also highlighting driverless technologies the competing companies aim to soon bring to market.

The 45th Tokyo motor show, which will be open to the public from Saturday through November 5 at Tokyo Big Sight, will give patrons a first look at the more than 70 new vehicles being launched at the biennial event.

A total of 153 companies and organisations from 10 countries are putting their products and services on display, but US giants General Motors and Ford will skip the event for the fifth consecutive time, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover Ltd will not attend either.

The event comes as carmakers are rushing to develop next-generation vehicles to meet stricter emissions standards. The British and French governments have said they will ban sales of gasoline-and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040. China, which has emerged as the world’s largest car market, is also tightening regulations to encourage the uptake of electric cars.

Toyota Motor will unveil its new fuel cell concept car “Fine-Comfort Ride” which it says has a range 50 per cent longer than the Mirai, the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle it put on sale in December 2014. Toyota’s new offering can achieve a range of 1,000 kilometres, the company said.

Despite being a pioneer in hybrid technology, Toyota has been slow to embrace electric vehicles, but with the market rapidly expanding the company is moving to boost its efforts in EV production through a capital tie-up with Mazda Motor Corp.

Toyota, Japan’s largest carmaker by volume, will also introduce three “Concept-i” vehicles with autonomous driving and artificial intelligence technologies. The carmaker said it plans to start road testing the vehicles in Japan around 2020.

Concept-i vehicles’ AI technology allows the car to switch to autonomous control if it detects the driver becoming stressed through an analysis of facial expressions and behaviour.

Nissan Motor will showcase its Leaf Nismo Concept car, a variant of its Leaf electric vehicle developed and launched in September in conjunction with the company’s motorsports division. Nissan is the leading EV maker, with the well-established Leaf model currently the bestselling electric car in the world.

Nissan comes to the motor show reeling from a scandal that has seen it halt new car shipments into the Japanese market.

The company admitted it continued a practise of allowing final inspections to be undertaken by unauthorised staff even after the misconduct was revealed. The scandal has led the company to file for a massive domestic recall.

Honda Motor will introduce three electric vehicles, including its “Honda Sports EV Concept” car, a small sports car equipped with artificial intelligence technologies that interact with the driver to make route suggestions.

Honda will display the new models that are part of its push to lift sales of hybrid and electric vehicles to two-thirds of its global sales volume by around 2030. Honda will also host a display honouring its iconic Super Cub motorcycle range, whose production topped 100 million units this month.