The Toyota Smart INSECT. Hoping To Swarm The US Market.
Updated June 28, 2014
In today’s age with technology advancing every six months, or so we tend to come across something in the automotive world that will either make us grimace in disbelief, or simply amaze us. In this segment of Gearheads we will go over a car that has been in production for quite some time, but oddly enough is waiting for the right moment to swarm into the US.
The Toyota Smart INSECT is an EV (electric vehicle) that the automaker has been figuring out a way to bring it to the US, and make it work, all at the same time. If you happened to notice that the Smart INSECT’s letters are all capitalized, it’s because the word actually stands for something. The word INSECT is short for, Information Network Social Electric City Transporter. That would have been the ultimate task in trying to find a spot on the car to put that long name on. As I mentioned earlier the Smart INSECT has been in production in Japan for a little more than a few years, and has been working out pretty well for the Japanese market. The US is next on the list to be won over by the INSECT.
What makes the Smart INSECT so great is it’s capabilities to be more than just a mode of transport. As we all know, auto manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to incorporate driving, and the social media. In the Smart INSECT, this daunting task has already been accomplished. With it’s Cloud based technology, currently located at Toyota’s Smart Center, the INSECT will be able to learn from it’s driver’s characteristics each, and every time the car is driven. The Toyota Smart INSECT is programmed to recognize facial expressions, and body movements, and then respond accordingly. An example of this is, the INSECT will recognize the face of it’s driver, and automatically react by blinking lights, and then opening the doors for entry. Also another feature is how the programming will allow for specific locations to be marked on the GPS, so a simple “Home”, or “Work” can be said and the quickest route will be established in real time. Connecting your Toyota Smart INSECT to your home is yet, another possibility, and that can be had by linking the Cloud software to your home security system. This will enable the driver to monitor their home while on the road, and do small things, such as turn on the lights in the kitchen, and even turn on the A/C in the home.
As it stands now, Toyota has reported selling over 1,000 of these Smart INSECTs, and is looking forward to making a dent outside of the Japanese market. The problem that has been holding them back is the slow advancement in EV tech. In short Toyota needs a sure fire way to be able to not only run, but also charge the INSECT efficiently, and at an affordable price. Currently the by US standards the Toyota Smart INSECT is nothing more than a concept, but Toyota’s specs on the car are as follows. The INSECT when produced will cost $10,000 US dollars, and with it’s current configuration it can achieve a top speed of 37.5mph, and can travel a maximum of 31 miles on a single charge. This is one of the problems Toyota wants to improve upon. A better, stronger, smaller packaged Lithium-Ion battery pack would be essential to longer distances, because in Japan’s ultra condensed cityscape the Smart INSECT hops from place to place without the slightest hiccup. Toyota now needs to implement that technique on a much larger scale, if they hope to make it work I the US.
Categories: Production Cars