Tokyo Motor Show 2011 preview

  • Japanese manufacturers show off new concept cars
  • Electric and green technology set to feature heavily
  • We preview some of the big reveals expected this year

It may not be as important to European motorists as shows in Paris, Frankfurt and Geneva, but the Tokyo Motor Show is the place to see the technology of the future.

This year, like many of the other motor shows in 2011, there will be a big focus on green technology. A number of manufacturers will be showing off what they can – or will – do with electric motoring in the coming years.

As it’s the home motor show for the likes of Honda, Toyota and Nissan, and they will be the big brands to look out for. They’re all set to show off a number of all-new concept cars and future tech.

So, with the Tokyo Motor Show set to start on November 1, here’s a preview of some of the things you can expect to see.


Attempting to keep pace with the Japanese manufacturers, BMW will be giving the Tokyo audience chance to see the i3 and i8 models. We’ve seen them before but to refresh your memory, the i3 is a small city car while the i8 is a plug-in petrol/electric hybrid sports car. With this showing off the more distant future, the German brand will also be bringing a hybrid version of the 5-Series along with some new engine for the X5 and X1. 


It will be a busy time at the Honda stand with a total of seven different concepts on display. However, some of these are motorbikes so we’ll ignore them and concentrate on the three car concepts. First of is a small electric sports car that currently has no name but will apparently be fun to drive and good on the environment. Then there’s the AC-X, a saloon like plug-in hybrid and finally an electric micro-commuter car.


The big reveal for Mazda at the show is set to be the Takeri concept. Showing off the company’s latest design language as well as the new engine technology dubbed SKYACTIV that looks to lower emissions and improve economy through lowering weight. Also on show is the CX-5 crossover, which is the first production model to get the SKYACTIV system and a car we’ve already driven.  


Already slightly ahead of the curve with the Leaf entering the mainstream motoring conscience this year, Nissan is unveiling further additions to its electric line-up. There will be three new plug-in concepts on show. The Pivo 3 is a small three-seater of the future for urban commuting, the Esflow appeared at the Geneva show this year and is a pure electric sports car and finally the Townpod was revealed at Paris last year and is a small electric hatchback.  


Unlike its Japanese counterparts, the show isn’t all about electric motoring for Suzuki. The company will be unveiling three new concepts. The first is REGINA, a small city car that can achieve 75mpg and emit 70g/km with a petrol engine. The second follows many of the other manufacturer’s visions of the future. Called Q-Concept, it’s a two-seat micro-mobility for inner-city use. Finally is the more realistic Swift EV Hybrid that can run solely on electric batteries, which are then powered by a petrol engine when they run out.


The Japanese brand will be showing three vehicles for three different time scales: near future, mid-term and distant future. The more realistic, near future, is the FT-EV III that is an all-electric car based on the manufacturer’s iQ model and should arrive in 2012. Mid-term is the FCV-R, a hydrogen-fuelled family saloon, which won’t be seen until 2015. Then there is the Fun-Vii which Toyota claims is its vision of the future where people, cars and society are linked.