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Toyota and Clemson showcase Gen-Z focused EV concept at SAE World Congress

At the 2016 SAE World Congress, Toyota and Clemson University unveiled an innovative, flexible concept called uBox that is intended to appeal to the next generation of car buyers: Gen-Z. Designed, engineered and hand-built by graduate students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), the vehicle is the result of a two-year collaboration with Toyota Motor North America designers and engineers.

The uBox features a compact, dual-purpose, all-electric powertrain providing a fun driving experience and emission-free stationary energy to power consumer electronics, power tools or other devices through various 110-volt sockets located throughout the interior and exterior.

One feature in particular caught the attention of Toyota Executive Program Manager Craig Payne, a unique pultrusion technique developed by the students that allows composite carbon fiber rails bonded with aluminum to support a curved glass roof.

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The roof pultrusion was something unexpected and very interesting when they first started talking about the concept. The fact that they were able to achieve an industry-first manufacturing technique as students speaks volumes for this program.

—Craig Payne

The CU-ICAR / Toyota collaboration, called Deep Orange, immerses students into every aspect of automotive development—from market research and design studies to engineering design and manufacturing.

The typical customer for uBox is a young entrepreneur who wants a vehicle that can provide utility and recreation on the weekend but that can also offer office space or other career-centric or lifestyle uses during the week.

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Some of the many features of uBox include:

  • A bold, youthful and distinctive exterior design that aligns with generation Z’s personality trait to stand out, embodying a muscular stance that looks like it’s sprung forward in motion, even when standing still.

  • A versatile interior that can be rearranged for various activities, from working or operating a business, to hauling bulky cargo. A low floor allows for reconfigurable, removable seats on sliding tracks that can be nested.

  • Vents, dashboard display bezels and door trim that can be personalized and made with 3-D printing technology, and an online community for owners where they can share design ideas.

Comments

Calgarygary

I always regret having never owned a VW "Thing". Looks like I'll get a second chance.

Nirmalkumar

Real good design. Hope electric version is produced at earliest.

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