Is it a boat? Is it a wardrobe? No, it’s Toyota’s latest concept car, the Setsuna

Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
The boat-like wooden car will be displayed at Milan Design Week (Source: Toyota)

Forget Tesla and its fancy pants technology - Toyota’s gone back to basics with its latest prototype.

Who needs plastic and metal when the natural world provides its very own materials? Yes, wood is the main component of the Setsuna car, which goes on show at the Milan Design Week this week.

It has not just your average clock, but a dial that measures the passing of 100 years and an emblem that indicates, er, “the accumulation of moments”, they say. The wood is also meant to change over time, so the car embodies “the changing nature of its bond with its owners, representing memories of time passed together”. Righto then.

Traditional Japanese methods of okuriari and kusabi were used to make it (for those not familiar, that means no nails at all were used in the wood parts) and means the panels across the car which can easily be replaced.

Here’s how the engineer Kenji Tsuji explained the Setsuna.

"When we created the Setsuna, we envisaged a family pouring its love into it over generations so that the car gains an irreplaceable value. Continuous development is possible in the form of bonds between the car and the family, like the growth rings of a tree"

"By displaying the Setsuna, which was created with these hopes in mind and receiving a wide range of opinions, we believe that we can further improve this concept. One piece of feedback that we received in particular was the hope that we would incorporate this concept into car manufacturing in the future."

There’s even a concept video for the concept itself.

Who said cars of the future had to be all about the technology?

Related articles