This year’s Japan Mobility has been one of the most eventful and progressive showcases to date, as the country’s best manufacturers gathered their latest creations to show fans what to expect in the coming years. 2023 was the year of the electric cars, with an expansive catalog of multiple body styles all incorporating battery electric technology. These cars paint a clear roadmap of what fans and potential consumers can expect from Japan’s manufacturers in the years to come. Many products excited the crowd, yet some concepts stood out more than others.
Most of the concept cars that appear on this list will be heading to production in some way, shape, or form. Specific creations will cater to the Japanese market, but most will target global sales, promising a more diverse and exciting array of electric car options.
Information in this article has been sourced from the respective automakers and credible publications like Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and Top Gear.
1 Honda Sustania-C And Pocket
Honda pays homage to one of its most iconic models with the Sustania-C and Pocket combination. The funky subcompact sustainable duo acknowledges the City Turbo II and Motocompo package, with futuristic electric drivetrains, LED lights, and external displays. The Japanese manufacturer also takes this opportunity to introduce new innovations like recycled acrylic body panels and a digital display on the tailgate to communicate with fellow motorists and pedestrians.
The Pocket EV scooter is an ideal accessory that users can enjoy in tighter and denser environments. This was a combination the brand explored in the 80s, but with the power of electrification, it just makes more sense for a modern application. There’s no official word on whether Honda is bringing this concept to the market, but many JDM fans are sure to be crossing their fingers for this, as the original City Turbo is significantly hard to come by, especially in the USA.
2 Infiniti Vision Qe
The Vision Qe showcases Infiniti’s commitment to creating radical and dynamic electric cars without compromising on its core company values, merging luxury with accessibility and performance. The radical concept previews its upcoming inaugural electric sedan, but the brand is very slim on details. The concept doesn’t shy away from conservative design cues as it proudly showcases a plethora of bold golden LEDs covering the head- and taillights, faux grille, lower bumper, and badging.
The concept’s dark theme makes it a bit hard to get a clear look at the design cues, but a sleek fastback silhouette with four doors is clearly evident. A rear LED lightbar stretches from the wheel arches and emulates somewhat of a rear spoiler, which is a design element that is rarely experimented with by other manufacturers. The Qe will likely challenge the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQE with a proposed release date of 2025.
3 Lexus LF-ZC
Lexus is embarking on an aggressive electric car campaign under the watchful eye of Toyota. The LF-ZC will follow the current RZ450e as a dedicated electric fastback sedan catering to more premium consumers. In true Lexus fashion, the sleek concept merges radical design cues with a contemporary silhouette, making it immediately recognizable.
The LF-ZC holds significance as it will introduce the company’s new prismatic high-performance battery technology, poised to double the range capabilities of its current EV compact crossover. This does not relate to Toyota’s current solid-state battery innovations. Lexus will use the release of this car as an opportunity to introduce next-generation software innovations with an AI assistant covering a host of comfort, convenience, and entertainment functions. The cabin will resultantly host an array of digital displays.
4 Mazda Iconic SP
Mazda’s fans have been crying for an RX successor for years, with ongoing rumors constantly teasing a thrilling revival. The Iconic SP concept is the most realistic possibility for the brand to return to its rotary sports car roots with the power of electrification. The best thing about this concept is its compact proportions that rival those of the current MX-5 Miata. It even adopts a modern set of retractable headlights that honor those found on all previous RX-7 models.
The RX-8 left a sour taste in many mouths as it did not appropriately capture the thrilling and iconic emotions of the original RX cars. Mazda proposes that this car will adopt a dual-rotary configuration supplemented by electric motors, similar to the MX-30. The Japanese company also suggests that the new powertrain will run on carbon-neutral fuels like hydrogen, making it more appealing to those who want to enjoy the sounds of the iconic high-revving spinning engine without damaging the planet.
5 Mitsubishi D:X
The Mitsubishi Delica is a lesser-known van that has a dedicated cult following for its versatile cabin and 4×4 drivetrain. It’s reveal confirms that the brand has no desire to embrace a modern electric sports car. The D:X introduces the iconic model into the world of electrification with a brand-new design language featuring futuristic lights and geometric design cues, while maintaining its traditional off-road van philosophy. Robust anti-scuff panels are located around the body to motivate its adventurous persona together with a sleek roof box accessory covering the glass roof.
The highlight of this concept is its cabin, which has been designed with socialization in mind. Like the current model, the floor plan is customizable to accommodate multiple seating configurations. The six individual captain chairs are surrounded by large glasshouses with augmented displays. The dashboard intelligently integrates the navigation system onto the glass to provide an in-depth off-roading experience, while the driver enjoys a comfortable octagonal wheel with a minimalist digital display.
6 Toyota FT-Se
Toyota has been trailblazing its performance car division over the last decade, and this appears to remain consistent as it embraces electrification. The FT-Se represents a new venture for the brand that may set it against the likes of top-tier supercar companies. This is a logical move for the Japanese brand which has a longstanding motorsport history across multiple disciplines.
Toyota is remaining quiet about the car’s specifications, but it confirms that it will be a production performance car that proudly wears the Gazoo Racing badge, joining the likes of the Supra and GR86. The interior shows off a driver-focused setting with plush bucket seats and a race-car-inspired steering wheel. The dashboard forgoes an infotainment screen for the sake of keeping the driver’s eyes glued to the track. A small digital instrument cluster joins a pair of displays surrounding the wheel, covering all necessary comfort, convenience, entertainment, and safety functions.
7 Subaru Sport Mobility
The Subaru Sport Mobility sees the Japanese brand go back to its boxy design days, but with a modern angle. The crossover two-door coupe draws some clear inspiration from the old SVX, but remains distinctive with its restrained LED lights, illuminated badging, and flared wheel arches. The squared design accentuates a dark glasshouse that hides the pillars and a set of aerodynamic hexagonal wheel covers.
Like many of the other cars featured on this list, Subaru has not divulged any details regarding the concept’s performance specifications, but it will no doubt adopt a dual-motor all-wheel drive system, possibly sourced from Toyota’s EV department.
8 Nissan Hyper Force
The Hyper Force previews the much-awaited and overdue successor the R35 GT-R, and based on first impressions, it doesn’t disappoint. Visually, it pays homage to all previous GT-R models, while incorporating a new and distinctive design language. The bold front bumper and rear wing resemble the ones found on its Silhouette race cars from the late 80s and early 90s. Fans of the Skyline heritage may also notice the side 4ORCE decal, which resembles the iconic 4Valve DOHC RS-Turbo moniker used on the road-going and silhouette DR30-generation car.
The interior is where things really start to get new-age, as the brand introduces a host of digital displays and lighting developed in part with the Gran Turismo team. This cockpit gives the user access to one of the most comprehensive telemetry systems seen to date, making it a true technologically focused driver’s car. Nissan suggests that its electric all-wheel drivetrain will produce more than 1,340 horsepower, which is a big step up from the current ICE model that dates all the way back to 2007.
9 Daihatsu Osanpo
The Osanpo is one of the lesser-covered EVs on this list, but it is still a very special and entertaining EV concept that brings two kei-car segments together. The off-roading two-seater roadster keeps things within the brand’s traditional adorable but functional design cues catering to lower budgets. The Osanpo adopts plastic front and rear bumpers, minimal LED lighting, simple wheels, and a very conservative shape. Conventional bulky door mirrors and handles remain.
The interior takes a very attractive but simplistic approach. This concept is one of very few at the motor show that does not feature a multifunction steering wheel or infotainment screen. Instead, a thin-rim twin-spoke wheel and a small portrait dot-matrix LED instrument cluster greet the driver.
10 Sony Honda Afeela
The Afeela is a joint collaboration between Sony and Honda. It has been previewed before, but more information regarding this thrilling partnership has been revealed at the mobility show. The Afeela prioritizes entertainment features via Sony’s decades of digital innovations, with a multitude of screens, including a panoramic front display, two smaller screens for exterior side camera mirrors, and additional passenger entertainment screens in the rear.
On the exterior front, the sleek EV sedan employs a sleek fastback sedan silhouette with LED light bars and a two-tone floating roof. It takes an unconventional car approach by removing the door handles, replacing door mirrors with cameras, and integrating a comprehensive external LiDAR component on the roof. The aerodynamic wheels merge seamlessly merge a sense of contemporary and futuristic aesthetics to tie the exterior together.
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