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Why Build Houses When You Can Build an EV Instead?

LIXIL wooden electric carOne might think that exhibition booths at the Tokyo Motor Show are only available to the automotive industry. One would be wrong. At least one booth belongs to the housing manufacturer LIXIL, which will be spending the week showing off a rather unusual short-range EV. For the past several months, LIXIL has been working with a number of other companies (including Tostem, INAX, Shin Nikkei Co., Ltd., and Sun Wave Corporation) to make the allegedly actually-running single-seat electric car.

We Will Not Disturb the Environment

One might wonder, as I did, why LIXIL felt the need to build an EV – but it turns out it’s less about the car and more about the lifestyle, or at least about the idea of the lifestyle. Under the broad umbrella of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association’s theme for this year’s auto show – Smart Mobility City 2011 – LIXIL has grabbed the idea of harmony with nature and run with it.

Boy, did they run with it. “This is a house where life and car meet, a midterior bound together in the mobile lifestyle,” LIXIL says in their booth, further explaining that they’re proposing a way to live harmoniously with nature. Given the way nature has been pounding Japan this year, I can see why that would be an attractive idea.

But Where Are The Wheels?

In order to be relevant at the auto show, LIXIL did have to bring a car. They developed and built what is being billed as a “furniture-esque” EV, which either looks like the return of the 20s or the treehouse out back with wheels on. It seats one, and that’s all the information there is. There’s been no word on how the car actually performs or how long it takes to charge, nothing. What LIXIL has said about the car follows:

“Based on the philosophy of building a house, we have made a vehicle which is friendly towards the environment. We are using it to promote smart mobility as not only a lifestyle, but a way of thinking.”

It is rather eye-catching, but I’m not entirely sure that a wooden EV is the answer to harmony with nature. But what do I know? I live in the city – there’s no nature here. Let us know what you think in the comments, below.

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spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.


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