The Toyota NORI concept was the vehicle Toyota came up
with for the 2010 Design Challenge set by the LA Auto
Show. The brief for the 2010 competition was to design
a car which weighed in at under 1,000 lbs (454 kgs), could
carry four people, and was safe and comfortable.
As always, the manufacturers are asked to come up with
some renderings or computer models of their design, and
also a little fictional story which explains how the concept
came into being. Here's Toyota's explanation for the NORI
As the majority of current generation automobiles consist
of a chassis covered by attached body panels, the NORI
concept presents the idea that the body and chassis are
one, as a PODULAR form, designed to be strong, light and
beautiful. Bioplastics technology is created using "nori"
(the Japanese word for seaweed) combined with a carbon
fiber weave for strength. Woven into the PODULAR form
are solar cells that capture and generate supplemental
solar energy. As a holistic solution and new design aesthetic,
NORI reduces weight and the number of parts while capturing
and generating energy.
At the onset of the DESIGN process for each PODULAR form
is a collaboration between designers and engineers, utilizing
a "real time" design envelope to ensure the
perfect balance of strength, light weight and design aesthetics.
This process eliminates traditional design and engineering
conflicts of form vs. function, and allows the design/engineering
process to come to fruition at the same time.
MANUFACTURING: The PODULAR forms are grown at factories
located nearby the sea. Seaweed grows prolifically, and
using it as a bioplastics source is an effort to minimalize
the impact on the food chain (corn/soy etc) that has previously
been used for bioplastics. The solar cells are embedded
as part of the growing/manufacturing process.
PERSONALIZATION: PSI's (partial shape insets) are
utilized to shield or expose passengers to the elements
and address vehicle regulations (such as covered wheels),
while serving as a new form of personalization. The color/graphics
of NORI can be changed through an electronically generated
data charge sent into the surface. There are no doors:
ingress/egress is achieved by stepping over and into the
Toyota NORI's PODULAR form.
DRIVETRAIN: The Toyota NORI utilizes four electric
wheel motors and a removable battery pack.