Yes, there will be plenty of jokes surrounding this story. But before the toilet humor commences, let us first applaud Toyota for creating a legitimately awesome solution for folks who can't get around as easily as most. Nobody likes using the porta-potty at public events, but imagine the difficulties for someone in a wheelchair. This Toyota Toilet solves that conundrum, and with a bit of style no less.
It all started back in 2019. The folks in Toyota's Vision Design Division were given the unlikely task of designing a toilet, but not simply a plastic booth with a Toyota logo. The request was for a toilet that could be mobile and easily accessible to those with special needs. Wheelchair users obviously come to mind, and with outdoor toilets at temporary venues seldom user-friendly for anyone, the Japanese automaker felt obligated to go a few steps beyond the requirements.
Gallery: Toyota Toilet
The result is what you see here. A prototype was slated for testing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, though COVID pushed that timeframe to 2021 when the games were held. It incorporated features such as a seat a few centimeters higher than normal, to better accommodate a wide range of users and their needs. Railings were installed in such a manner as to allow 360-degree wheelchair turns. A bright interior design with skylights created a warm, inviting space but it turned out to be something of a dud. Light-colored floors easily showed marks from wheelchairs, and it could get a bit slick. Toyota revised the design with darker, textured floors.
As for portability, the original design called for a self-propelled potty that could be taken to venues but it was recast as a trailer for simplicity. That doesn't mean the toilet design was simple, however. Keeping it light enough to tow without special licenses or permits was paramount, so Toyota utilized a foam-type construction sandwiched between thin metal, similar to refrigerated trailers. A low-volume water system similar to those used on Japan's bullet trains was developed, significantly reducing water usage.
According to Toyota Times, revisions are still taking place today. Following a deployment at the 2022 World Rally Championship event in Japan, users commented that a power-operated door would make things considerably easier, along with a simple locking mechanism.
While Toyota's detractors will no doubt find humor in a toilet with Toyota Gazoo Racing branding, this does help folks who aren't quite as mobile enjoy outdoor activities – like motorsports – that many of us take for granted. Here's hoping more of these facilities come into play in the months and years to come.