TOKYO -- Mercedes-Benz has been working on a series of autonomous concept cars called "Vision" for a few years, and its latest show car, the Vision Tokyo, has been explicitly designed to court motorists in megacities.
In this case, the German automaker has revealed a dirigible-like monoform show car at the, one designed to appeal to the youth of Japan's capital city. While it's a very space-efficient form with a lounge-like atmosphere inside, the sheer size of this vehicle seems somehow out of step with the densely packed environment for which it was built. Those 26-inch wheels also suggest a massive turning circle, which seems suboptimal for urban travel.
Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to try to tailor a connected-vehicle concept to Japan's increasingly car-averse youth, a growing problem for automakers hoping to sell their wares in this market. Also at this week's Tokyo Motor Show, domestic automaker Nissan is showing its, a social-media-minded electric vehicle targeting a similar audience.
Interestingly, this futurethink Mercedes-Benz show car eschews traditional front and back seats in favor of an oval-shaped couch, ostensibly because there's no need to prioritize a driver's area in a future where cars guide themselves and rarely crash.
Mercedes does include a provision for traditional piloted driving, in this case a jump seat that emerges from the couch and a steering wheel that moves into place.
The company claims the Vision Tokyo employs both a fuel cell and an onboard induction-charged battery to yield a total operating range of over 600 miles, approximately 120 of which are accomplished on the battery pack alone.