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Tokyo show: Daihatsu bowls up quirky concepts

Two-pot, not tin-pot: The Daihatsu D-X sports car concept is powered by a two-cylinder petrol engine and has a customisable resin-based body that can be altered by swapping components.

Japanese car-maker Daihatsu unveils sports car, city EV, fuel-cell tech concepts

14 Nov 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

DAIHATSU has unveiled three quirky concept cars ahead of their official unveiling at the Tokyo Motor Show early next month, comprising a two-cylinder sports car, a golf buggy-like EV and a boxy fuel cell-powered technology demonstrator.

Also billed as a concept but apparently just featuring a special paint scheme is the brand’s existing Mira e:S city car, which returns claimed fuel consumption of just 3.1L/100km.

The Japanese mini-car brand said the concepts represent its “Big Answer from Small” Tokyo show slogan and “express its roadmap for technological innovation that everyone in the world can enjoy in a compact car style”.

First up, the D-X sports car (pronounced d-cross) has a Jaguar-like radiator grille and headlight design, while bulky plastic cladding surrounds the wheelarches and sills to provide what Daihatsu describes as “tough and aggressive” styling.

Powered by a new turbocharged two-cylinder direct-injection petrol engine and featuring a modular “resin-based” body that can be modified by swapping components, the D-X is claimed to provide “a new feeling behind the wheel”.

Daihatsu believes development of internal combustion technology on the D-X means it has “struck a balance between the joy of driving and fuel efficiency” and says the D-X “offers a driving experience with that sense of oneness between person and vehicle that only a compact car can provide”.

73 center imageFrom top: Daihatsu Mira e:S, Pico and Sho Case.

The battery-powered Pico runabout features tandem seating and open sides much like Renault’s Twizy, and joins the rash of electric urban buggy concepts now out there – many of which featured at Frankfurt in September.

Said to accommodate “social and environmental changes” such as the aging population and regional locations, Daihatsu also considers the Pico suitable for delivery businesses.

As with the D-X, details on the Pico are few but it features “driving assistance with advanced radar” and its low, flat floor is claimed to ease entry/egress.

Daihatsu describes the Pico as “the ultimate vehicle for personal use and is ideal for short trips on a daily basis” and the tandem seating as “designed for ease of use in small and narrow spaces”.

From left of field comes the FC Sho Case, featuring Daihatsu’s own next-generation fuel cell system that reduces cost by containing no precious metals and saves space while increasing energy density – and therefore range – by using liquid fuel stored beneath the vehicle’s floor.

The zero-emission FC Sho Case employs a new platform that “offers a high degree of freedom” and its squared-off body with 2450mm wheelbase provides a flat floor, with seats and steering wheel that can be stowed away.

An image of the FC Sho Case with its single full-length gullwing door open and the seats stashed away shows the vehicle live up to its name by apparently doubling as a portable cinema or presentation device.

At just 3395mm long, 1475mm wide and 1900mm tall, the FC Sho Case is 105mm shorter and 125mm narrower than Suzuki’s diminutive Alto but 10mm taller than a Toyota Prado.

Daihatsu claims the FC Sho Case’s fuel cell technology “suggests new possibilities for a compact car as a zero-emission vehicle that leads the way to a secure and free energy future”.

Finally, The Mira e:S show car will feature a special metallic blue paint finish that “shows various changes in colour depending on viewing angle”.

The colour is said to embody “environmental friendliness and fun” and is described as “suggestive of the blue sky”.

Daihatsu originally debuted the Mira e:S at the 2009 Tokyo show, with its 700kg weight and 660cc petrol engine contributing to low fuel consumption.

The Osaka-based Toyota subsidiary, which specialises in small off-roaders and ‘Kei’ cars that exploit favourable tax and insurance conditions in the Japanese market, sold 64,749 vehicles in 2010 (a three per cent decline).

Daihatsu withdrew from the Australian market in 2006.

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