Toyota redefines wood class: car made of japanese birch

The new Setsuna from Toyota is really a very special car: its chassis is made entirely of wood. With the concept study, Toyota wants to show that wood develops its own patina, which has its own value for car owners. This week, this quirky idea is on display at Design Week in Milan.

If it weren't for the wheels, the Toyota Setsuna could pass for a boat. The car is made of wood, even the seats and the entire interior

If it weren’t for the wheels, the Toyota Setsuna could pass for a boat. The car is made of wood, even the seats and the entire interior.

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wooden class: car made of Japanese birch

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wooden class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wooden class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wooden class: car made of Japanese birch

If it weren’t for the wheels, the Toyota Setsuna could pass for a boat. The car is made of wood, even the seats and the entire interior.

Job search for engineers

„Nothing is impossible, Toyoooota”: Who doesn’t know this pretty advertising slogan sung by two monkeys at the end of every Corolla commercial in the 1990s?. Now the Japanese prove with their concept study Setsuna that this slogan still applies.

At the world’s largest design fair, Design Week in Milan, Toyota will present from 11. to 17. April this unusual car before. The special: The Setsuna is largely made of wood.

Japanese birch for the frame

Wood is not the material of choice in automotive engineering; at best, it is used for an elegant dashboard or a tactile steering wheel in expensive luxury sedans. Different for Toyota. Japanese birch, among other materials, was used for the frame of the three-meter-long Setsuna Concept.

The cypress wood steering wheel is also made using the traditional Japanese carpentry technique okuriari, which requires no screws or nails

Even the cypress wood steering wheel is made using the traditional Japanese carpentry technique okuriari, which requires no screws or nails at all.

The exterior trim is made of domestic cedar wood. The noble design is rounded off by a number of aluminum parts that combine beautifully with the wood look. The concept study Setsuna is an open two-seater, a roadster, which comes on a width of 1480 mm and on a height of 970 mm. The curved chassis reminds a little of a boat. Visually, only the wheels interfere with this association.

Setsuna can be controlled with “Moment übersetzen

The name of the concept study is a play on words: Setsuna can be translated from Japanese as “moment” üTRANSLATE. That’s exactly what the Setsuna is meant to reflect: All the fleeting moments that people experience with and in their cars. And it will last for generations.

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

The Setsuna is equipped with two electric motors and chugs along at 45 km/h. Currently it has a very limited range of only 30 kilometers, because the Setsuna is only a concept car.

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wooden class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wooden class: car made of Japanese birch

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made of Japanese birch tree

Toyota redefines wood class: car made from Japanese birch tree

The wooden car represents “the gradual transformation of vehicles that, in the course of their life cycle, absorb the desires, memories and emotions of entire generations of drivers and their families, according to Toyota. „Through these experiences, the vehicle gains an individual value for each user.“ For Toyota, wood is a durable material that changes color and texture but lasts for decades with proper care.

The Setsuna is built without screws and nails

Toyota has also remained true to the wood tradition in assembling the Setsuna Concept, using an old Japanese technique. „To assemble the individual parts, we used the traditional Japanese carpentry technique okuriari, which does not require any screws or nails at all.”, explains project manager Kenji Tsuji.

Even the hubcaps of the Toyota Setsuna are made of wood

Even the hubcaps of the Toyota Setsuna are made of wood.

Even the steering wheel, made of cypress wood, was assembled using the okuriari technique. The Toyota engineers think with the Setsuna Concept lastingly and generation-spreading. The wooden cart has a 100-year counter on board. This chronometer is to measure the time for the generations for which the car was built.

Concept car drives electrically and very slowly

But one thing is clear: the Setsuna is primarily a publicity stunt. The concept study presented in Milan reaches a top speed of 45 km/h. The Setsuna is powered by two small electric motors about whose performance data Toyota is silent. This much is known: There are six lead-acid cells as batteries, which are otherwise installed in motor scooters, which move the Setsuna from the spot.

30 kilometers the Setsuna comes at the moment with this battery pack. There is room for improvement, or as Kenji Tsuji says: “The car can still develop a complex and unique character over the years.“ Nothing is impossible.

Almost entirely without metal: the wooden wheel by Japanese student Yojiro Oshima

Dispenses almost entirely with metal: the wooden bike by Japanese student Yojiro Oshima.

Source: Musashino Art University

This also applies to wooden wheels. At least they have the chance that you can afford one as well. For example the wooden cargo bike Raiooo or the aero bike made of filigree birch wood slats. If you haven’t had enough of that yet: Here’s an overview of the world’s most unusual wooden bikes.

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