Motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha has once again used the Tokyo Motor Show to hint at a possible future in the automotive sector, this time displaying the Cross Hub - a versatile light commercial vehicle with innovative packaging to maximise versatility.
At 4490mm in length the Cross Hub sits right between a Corolla hatch and sedan for length, yet thanks to its 1+2+1 diamond-shaped seating plan allows four passengers plus two motorbikes to be carried at once.
Look closely and you’ll notice the capsule-like cabin wraps around the single rear seat, freeing up extra space in the corners of the load bed. By placing the front wheel of one full-sized motorbike into a corner and opting for something more kid-sized as the second bike Yamaha lives up to its claim in a way a regular dual cab ute simply can’t.
There’s also a partial tailgate at the rear which can be folded down to extend the wood-panelled cargo floor.
As expected the interior carries plenty of quirks too. The diamond seating layout means the central driver seat is flanked in close proximity by a pair of passenger seats while anyone who fails to yell “shotgun” fast enough will have to somehow slot into what looks like a very compact rear seat.
Yamaha has continued the wooden flooring inside the cabin, taking its inspiration from Yamaha’s marine products, while the driver gets a loud orange leather seat and U-shaped steering wheel and passengers enjoy a more subtle off-white leather trim.
Traditional instruments have been ditched in favour of a TFT display, with a secondary screen to the left of the steering column and a further two video displays at each side of the dash filling in for rear view mirrors.
No details of the Cross Hub’s powertrain have been issued, and obviously Yamaha is no stranger to internal combustion engines (both the motorcycle variety as well as having built motors for Volvo, Ford, Toyota, and Lexus over the years) but the Cross Hub also shares stand space with a pair of EV concepts, making alternative energy a possibility.
The MOTOROiD concept explores artificial intelligence technology for the motorcycle realm, able to recognise and react to its rider and powered by a rear wheel hub motor fed by a lithium ion battery.
Getting closer to the automotive side of things is the MWC-4, which Yamaha describes as a Leaning Multi-Wheel vehicle. Conceived as a ‘half-size’ vehicle the MWC-4 is part motorcycle, part mobility scooter in its design, with a range-extender powertrain that couple an electric motor with a small petrol-powered generator.
If that’s not quirky enough though the TriTown gets even sillier - another Leaning Multi Wheel, but rather than sitting in it, you ride it standing up, using balance to control it much like a hoverboard or segway, but with a formfactor that resembles a toddler’s scooter.
To go with the diverse range of blue-sky mobility solutions Yamaha also displayed more traditional production and concept motorcycles that will join its future lineup. As for a production version of the Cross Hub, the brand had little to say, but like the 2015 Sports Ride and 2013 Motiv.e before it, don’t expect to see it in showrooms any time soon.