Rebranded for 2023 as the Japan Mobility Show, the Tokyo Motor Show is shaping up to be the biggest in recent history. Virtually all domestic automakers will have a strong presence, including Toyota with its electric Land Cruiser and a small pickup truck that could preview a Ford Maverick rival. While all the other concepts are intended to be used on public roads, this off-roader prototype is a two-seater EV engineered for outer space.
Known as the Toyota Space Mobility, the experimental vehicle has all-wheel steering and an electric motor for each wheel. It's capable of climbing boulders up to nearly 20 inches (50 centimeters) tall and can also tackle 25-degree slopes. We're being told this is more than just for show as Toyota labels it as a prototype, which will be tested for real. Lessons learned will then be applied to other vehicles engineered to be used on the moon, such as the Lunar Cruiser.
Created for "unforgiving extraterrestrial environments," the Space Mobility is predictably small since it must be agile and nimble on rough terrain. Toyota says it's only 136 inches (3460 millimeters) long, thus making it only a smidge longer than a kei car. The unworldly electric vehicle with an open cockpit and meaty tires is 85.6 in (2175 mm) wide and 73.4 in (1865) mm tall.
The Lunar Cruiser and Space Mobility are not the only Toyota projects envisioned for outer space. At the beginning of the month, the Baby Lunar Cruiser was unveiled with FJ40 design cues and airless tires. It too had in-wheel motors and was envisioned "to conquer rugged terrain on Earth and beyond."
Lest we forget that Hyundai is also shooting for the moon by engineering its very own lunar rover that will use parts conceived for regular Hyundai and Kia models.