The Toyota e-Palette is a hybrid-powered, autonomous pod that looks like a wheeled smartphone. Pie-in-the-sky, fantasy future concepts come and go every year, but this one is noteworthy due to Toyota’s choice for a “generator” that charges the batteries powering the drive motors. It’s a Mazda rotary.
Toyota actually owns 5.25 per cent of Mazda and the two collaborated on a generator for the otherwise unappetizing e-Palette. The rotary was chosen for its compact size, smooth-running characteristics and light weight and “very good fuel economy,” says Mazda U.S. president. Masahiro Moro. This boggles us, because V8-style fuel-consumption has been a hallmark of the rotary for over 50 years.
Needless to say, those of us hoping the rotary will make its way into a new Mazda sports car, as teased with sultry concepts like the RX-Vision, will be disappointed.
The e-Palette itself is will supposedly be made in bus, shuttle, and car versions, and can also be used as a mobile hotel room or an emergency command centre. Whatever you say, Toyota.