Is anyone else detecting a distinctly bizarre theme to the vehicles that will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month? I mean, we've got a four-wheeled motorcycle, Yamaha's Tesseract, the R2-D2 co-pilot in Nissan's Pivo 2, and now, hmm, we have the Honda Puyo. Honda is also offering the sweet-looking lightweight gas-electric hybrid called the CR-Z, which you can see after the jump. For now, let's stay focused on the Puyo.

First, it's a fuel cell vehicle. But that's not the first thing you notice, is it? No, it's the never-in-a-million-years-feasible bubble design. "Puyo" is supposed to evoke feelings of comfort. Honda explains that Puyo "is a Japanese onomatopoeia that expresses the sensation of touching the vehicle's soft body. It is meant to convey a warm, friendly impression." I certainly don't think this car wants to hurt me, that's for sure.

Honda's engineer's wanted to create a "Seamless Soft Box," a car without corners, and one that is supposed to give the "feel of an adorable pet." Just what kind of car is this? Does it run better when you pet it? Honda doesn't say much about the fuel cell, except that it's ultra-efficient and small. It had better be; there's not a lot of room for a powerplant in the Puyo. There is also a joystick "for intuitive operation" on the inside. I cannot wait for the video of this car in action.

OK, on to the CR-Z. It's a much more standard design and is meant to embody "Compact Renaissance Zero." Whatever that means. The hybrid engine gets a fuel-economy assist from the vehicle's light weight but the rest of the car has been designed for "powerful performance in a compact form with a futuristic image." I think they nailed it. Check the picture and Honda's press release after the break.

UPDATE: Fixed what was obviously the wrong name in the headline of this post

[Source: Honda]

Honda Announces Automobiles to be Displayed at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show 2007

TOKYO, Japan, October 9, 2007–Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it will exhibit production and concept automobiles and a number of technologies at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show (sponsored byJapan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc.), to be held from Saturday, October 27 to Sunday, November 11, 2007, at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.

The theme for Honda's automobile booth for this year is: "For the endless joy of mobility on our earth". Based on this theme, Honda will display a variety of advanced environmental technologies that address environmental issues such as a reduction in CO2 emissions, together with the fun of mobility.

Two concept models will make their world premiere at the motor show. The CR-Z is a next-generation lightweight sports car equipped with Honda's original gas-electric hybrid system which achieves both clean performance and a high level of torque. The PUYO is a fuel cell vehicle which was designed based on out-of-box thinking to provide fun for both the vehicle owner and people around them as well. Also on display will be a model of the i-DTEC next-generation diesel engine, first announced in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which delivers both outstanding environmental performance and engine performance characteristics.

Moreover, the all-new Fit, which will go on sale in Japan in late October, will be on display. Since it was first introduced in 2001, the Fit has been widely acclaimed for its style, functionality, and outstanding fuel economy, with worldwide sales topping two million units. The all-new Inspire equipped with a new Variable Cylinder Management system, scheduled to go on sale in Japan later this year, will also be on display. Honda will exhibit a total of 18 vehicles representing 11 different models, including vehicles already on the market, those soon to be introduced, and future concept models.

In addition, a "Next Energy" display will showcase Honda's latest initiatives in new energy development, including technology for producing bio-ethanol from rice straw and the environmentally responsible next-generation thin-film solar cells, which will go on sale nationwide in Japan. Moreover, Honda's F1 and other racing machines that symbolize the challenge to realize new dreams and other advanced environmental technologies that enable people to enjoy mobility into the future will also be on display. Through these exhibits, Honda will propose a new direction for the future of mobility.

♦ CR-Z
'CR-Z' stands for 'Compact Renaissance Zero'-an expression intended to capture the idea of a renaissance in the design of compact cars that begins anew from fundamentals.

This design research model of a lightweight hybrid sports car features advanced technologies that deliver enjoyable driving for all while reducing the vehicle's environmental footprint.

< Exterior design >
Designed to be 'Futuristic and Dynamic', the CR-Z combines powerful performance in a compact form with a futuristic image. For its frontal view, an over-sized grill with a high-performance look is offset by openings on each side that lighten the overall feel. In the rear, tube-shaped rear combination lamps ensure better rearward visibility. Design details emphasizing the CR-Z's advanced image include door mirrors that provide high visibility in a stylish form, LED headlights patterned after luminous bodies to convey a sharp impression, and jauntyfin-shaped sub-lights. Large, 19-inch wheels are ready for dynamic driving performance.

< Interior design >
The key words for the CR-Z's interior design are 'Hi-tech and Sporty'. The goal was to create an all-new sporty interior that fuses the liberating feel of airy spaciousness with an advanced interface that brings out the fun of the drive. Mesh material on a simple framework construction is used throughout the interior to convey a light, sophisticated image without being oppressive. In the cockpit, the meter unit conveys the image of advanced technology ensconced in a piece of glass artwork, offering the functionality of immediate recognition while enhancing the driving experience with a futuristic and exhilarating feeling.

♦ PUYO
'PUYO' is a Japanese onomatopoeia that expresses the sensation of touching the vehicle's soft body. It is meant to convey a warm, friendly impression.

The PUYO represents a new idea in mobility that brings together 'clean', 'safe' and 'fun' functionality in an environmentally responsible, people-friendly minimalist design featuring an ultra-high efficiency, small frame and fuel cell technology to please both users and onlookers alike.

< Exterior design >
The development theme for the PUYO exterior was to create a cornerless, 'Seamless Soft Box' form that is kind to both people and the environment. The goal was to create a personable design with the feel of an adorable pet, while taking advantage of the maximum spaciousness of the box-shaped design. The PUYO's 'gel body' features soft materials to promote greater real-world safety. Moreover, the body has been made luminescent to guide people into the proper operating position and notify them of the vehicle's condition, facilitating a more intimate relationship between people and their cars.

< Interior design >
Developed to have a 'Silky Feel', the PUYO's interior is designed to provide a refreshing, people-friendly space imbued with a feeling of transparency. Features such as an instrument panel monitor, controls that take advantage of the elastic qualities of cloth to rise up when the vehicle starts up, luminous fluid meter displays, and a joystick for intuitive operation are all designed to gently support occupants' senses and sensibilities.

• Overview of Featured Automobiles and Other Exhibits

World Premiere model World Premiere <> Japan Premiere model Japan Premiere <>

< Concept Vehicles >
• CR-Z <> • FCX Concept
• PUYO <> • Civic Type R (racing concept vehicle) <>

< Planned Production Vehicles >
• Inspire <>
• Step Wagon <>
• Step Wagon Spada <>

< Production Vehicles >
• Fit • S2000 Type S
• Fit RS • Civic Hybrid
• Fit Special-Needs Vehicle

< Motor Sports >
• F1 (RA107)
• Accord Diesel (entrant in 2007 Joy endurance race)
• Civic Hybrid racer (entrant in 2007 Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race)

< Exhibits >
• i-DTEC diesel engine (cutaway model / mechanical model) <>
• V6-VCM gasoline engine (technology display model)
• IMA hybrid system (cutaway model)
• 1.3-liter i-VTEC gasoline engine (technology display model)
• Fit (cutaway model)
• Driving simulator
• 'InterNavi' satellite navigation system
• Ultra-thin solar panels
• Cogeneration unit
*Quantities and types of vehicles displayed are subject to change without notice.

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