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Auto Show:  2011 Tokyo Auto Show

Toyota Concepts - Tokyo Auto Show

author photo by Jeffrey Archer November 2011

In the midst of unveiling several new production vehicles at this year's Tokyo Auto Show, Toyota also premiered two eye-grabbing new concept cars packed with futuristic technology. The first, dubbed the Fun-Vii, features a fully customizable digital interior and exterior that can be updated at the press of a button, while the slightly more realistic FCV-R previews the future of Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Among the most unusual cars shown in Tokyo, the Fun-Vii offers a unique design that includes no hood or trunk, but rather a futuristic body with flat surfaces on nearly all sides. Shown in black, the Fun-Vii features a fully digital exterior that can be changed to any color, design or content that the owner chooses. According to Toyota, the customizable exterior can be changed with the same ease as downloading a new smartphone app, and could be used to advertise a business or display a custom message.

Not surprisingly, the Fun-Vii's futuristic technology doesn't end with its unique exterior. Toyota says the concept car's interior can also be changed to any possible hue or style, noting that drivers can tailor it to suit their changing moods. Other interesting features include the ability to connect with fellow road users, adding a social element to the driving experience, and a navigation concierge that provides real-time information through a vehicle assistant.

But while the Fun-Vii was certainly the most unusual vehicle Toyota revealed in Tokyo, it wasn't the automaker's only concept car to make its debut at the show. Toyota also used the event to reveal its hydrogen-powered FCV-R, which previews the automaker's intent to launch a fuel cell vehicle by 2015.

With styling reminiscent of a futuristic Camry, the FCV-R - which stands for "Fuel Cell Vehicle - Reality and Revolution" - features a 70 MegaPascal high-pressure hydrogen tank beneath its roomy, four-seat passenger compartment. According to Toyota, the sedan features a range of around 430 miles and demonstrates its next step towards launching a commercially-viable fuel cell vehicle.

Although Toyota says the Fun-Vii and FCV-R are concept cars and won't make production, we think it's likely that some elements from both cars could see the light of day in the near future.

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Toyota Concepts - Tokyo Auto Show - Autotrader