Toyota's New EV Concept Looks Like the Boxy Sci-Fi Van We Deserve

Boxy, fun, and futuristic.

Originally Published: 
Toyota Kayoibako electric van concept

When it comes to tech products, I love practicality. Is my iPhone the most exciting smartphone in the world? No, but damn does it work.

But when it comes to concepts, I want — nay, deserve — something more. Something fun; something cool; something unreasonably sci-fi.

That’s exactly why I’d like to extend a thank you to Toyota for its Kayoibako concept electric van. Is this an EV I want to own? No. Is it an EV I need to own? No. Did I maybe scream “Cool!” to myself? You bet your last allotment of freeze-dried space vegetables I did.

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The Kayoibako EV

Toyota showed off the Kayoibako as part of a lead-up to the Japan Mobility Show, and like some other funky concepts slated for the event, it doesn’t hold back in the “What If?” department.

If you’re thinking this concept looks a lot like a cargo container, well, your head is in the right place. Toyota says that’s exactly what the Kayoibako is modeled after.

And if a cargo container is one half of the inspiration then I assume the other half is a space shuttle. Also, there’s a bit of a parallel to Canoo’s electric van — another curvy futuristic EV that, despite its wild look, isn’t just a concept.

Nothing says sci-fi like a steering yoke.


Unlike a cargo container, Toyota is positioning the Kayoibako as equal parts commercial and personal. On the business end, the futuristic-looking van can be configured on the inside for last-mile delivery or even a mobile pop-up shop. There’s also extra seating to act as a small-ish shuttle bus.

On a personal level, the Kayoibako just acts as a modular van — one that would be particularly practical for anyone transporting passengers in a wheelchair.

Naturally, the main cabin on this thing looks as futuristic as any concept out there. There’s a steering yoke (spaceship cockpit vibes) and sprawling screens that contain all sorts of useful info like the weather, navigation, car cameras, and, uh... some charts and stuff?

Sci-figuring it out

EVs that look and act just like this have been on the radar since actual self-driving cars became even a remote possibility. And like those past visions, the Kayoibako connotes a world where tiny modular EVs robotically cart around people and things in cities everywhere.

Needless to say, we’re still a ways off from that reality, but somehow, the Kayoibako — with its achievable design and shotgun approach to a potential audience — does make it seem a little bit closer. Who knows if we’ll ever see anything like this get made, but that’s not really the point. We deserve a little sci-fi van as a treat.

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