Toyota Setsuna heading to Milan – a wooden concept car

Toyota has created a new novel concept car named Setsuna, meaning ‘moment’ in Japanese. It’s ready to make its world debut at the Milan Design Week this April – and the main material in its unusual design is wood.

With boat-like styling, this two-seater electric motor-powered vehicle has been built using wood so that its surfaces will transform in its appearance over time, capturing memories, aspirations and developing relationships of familial generations with the Setsuna.

The name ‘Setsuna’ is equally as evocative, designed to create a bond between the car and its driver as they share significant moments and experiences.

Many distinctive types of wood have been used in Setsuna’s design, with varying sorts used on the exterior panels to the frame, floor and seats. As a resilient material, this wooden car has the ability to last for many generations.

Kenji Tsuji, the engineer overseeing Setsuna’s development, said:

We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different woods for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. We also paid particular attention to the size and arrangement of individual parts and used a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari, which doesn’t use any nails or screws. The completed body line expresses a beautiful curve reminiscent of a boat. We would also like the viewer to imagine how Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years. It includes a 100-year meter that will mark time across generations and seats that combine functionality with attractive, gentle hues of the wood.