2016 Toyota uBox Concept
Toyota designers and engineers have spent the last two years collaborating with students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research to design a new car. The project is called “Deep Orange” and, after two years of work, the team has designed, engineered, and hand-built what it is calling the uBox Concept. The project is intended to develop interested from the “next generation” of car buyers, dubbed Generation Z, and is designed to provide utility and recreation on the weekend but serve as an office space during the week.
Johnell Brooks, an Associate Professor in Clemson’s graduate engineering program, said, “Deep Orange gives students’ hands-on experience with the entire vehicle development process, from identifying the market opportunity through the vehicle build. It’s like automotive boot camp for the real world, and it wouldn’t happen without industry partners like Toyota.”
The uBox Concept made its debut on April 12th at the Society of Engineers World Congress and Exposition in Detroit, Michigan. It features an um… interesting design on the outside and a good portion of the interior components can be customized and created with 3D printing technology. All told, it isn’t a bad design for a group of students embarking on their first major design and engineering project, so let’s take a closer look at the uBox concept and see just how the students did.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Toyota uBox Concept.
Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive is already one of the most advanced gasoline-electric powertrains on the planet, but the Japanese automaker is looking to squeeze even more technology into its high-efficiency vehicles, with the use of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors that were developed in collaboration by Toyota, Denso and Toyota Central R&D Labs.
According to Toyota, the semiconductors used in today’s hybrids and electric vehicles have more electrical resistance than SiC semiconductors, accounting for an electric energy loss of around 20 percent, so switching to the more-efficient SiC semiconductors should result in improved performance from the electric drive components. To find out exactly what kind of improvement that would be, Toyota will begin a year-long test (starting this month in Japan) of a Toyota Camry Hybrid prototype that utilizes a power control unit (PCU) equipped with these new semiconductors.
While Toyota has not revealed when it plans to start using them in production vehicles, it doesn’t seem like it will be ready in time for use in the next-gen Toyota Prius expected to debut later this year.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SiC Prototype.