Window vans are common all over the world, able to operate in roles as people-carriers as well as cargo transporters. Toyota has offered such vehicles for many decades – models like the Hiace and Liteace would be familiar to Malaysians – and will continue to do so even in the electric era.
But with electric powertrains, the architecture of vehicles is a bit different and gives designers more space to explore new ideas. With the KAYOIBAKO concept, which will be shown at the Japan Mobility Show later this month, Toyota shows how a future van could be designed for business or personal mobility.
The word ‘kayoibako’ refers to configurable shipping containers for safely and efficiently transporting parts and products between facilities. They are sized to eliminate waste and to meet diverse needs, changeable inserts are used.
Adopting this approach, the KAYOIBAKO presents a new compact space concept that could be commonplace in future vans. In this respect, Toyota proposes a ‘quality base unit’’ of mobility through a commitment to interior/exterior packaging and affordability.
It’s not so evident from the pictures but the KAYOIBAKO is actually a fairly small vehicle. Its overall length of 3990 mm and 1790 mm gives it a footprint that is smaller than a Toyota Veloz which measures 4475 mm in length and 1750 mm in width. However, it has a wheelbase of 2800 mm (longer than the Veloz) which allows for an interior length of 3127 mm.
With an ultra-expandable design, the KAYOIBAKO allows tailoring to suit different role, so it will be applicable to different industries. For business applications, the vehicle will offer solutions to various issues as part of the social infrastructure. In last-mile logistics, for example, the vehicle can contribute to smart distribution systems by allowing customization for efficient low-volume transportation.
The KAYOIBAKO can also be customized to meet the needs of local communities, such as by installing product display shelves to create a mobile shop or additional seating to serve as a shuttle bus.
For private use, the vehicle can be customized according to individual tastes and preferences, evolving into a one-of-a-kind mobility. As well as catering to diverse personal uses and lifestyles, the KAYOIBAKO will also contribute to providing ‘Mobility for All’’ by, for example, enabling designs that offer easier access for wheelchair users.
As a battery electric vehicle with both hardware and software customizable to specific roles, the KAYOIBAKO will function as part of smart grids and other intelligent social systems.