Young kids want to drive a Johnny Cab. That’s what students at South Carolina’s Clemson University, working with Toyota, has decided — and thus was born the uBox concept, which looks like a soft-roader SUV ate an urban assault vehicle. Apparently the uBox is made for “a young entrepreneur who wants a vehicle that can provide utility and recreation on the weekend” — that’s totally us.
Designed as a collaboration between Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research and Toyota, the uBox is designed to be everything for the young Generation Z man or woman that might be buying it. That means it should be a bit of fun to drive, not produce an entire planet’s worth of emissions out the tailpipe, and have enough room to suit a host of different requirements — whether that’s carrying an entire car load of people, using your car like a portable office, or working out of it and carrying cargo and charging a bunch of power tools.
The Toyota uBox is entirely emissions-free with its electric powertrain, and UC-ICAR makes note of the fact that a variety of different 110-volt outlets are built in around the interior and exterior. The vast majority of the car, too, is modular — the 3D-printed dashboard segments can be removed and replaced as needed, and the adjustable seating config means larger cargo like bikes can be slotted in (relatively) easily.
There’s a new piece of tech, too, in the fact that the uBox is partly built from a novel industrial design technique in combining aluminium with carbon fibre — it’s called “pultrusion”, apparently — to create thin roof beams that can support a large, curved glass roof. That doesn’t change the fact that it looks like a Johnny Cab, but there is something a little tempting and ruggedly utilitarian about the uBox. [Toyota]