CES 2020

Toyota to build 175-acre prototype city of the future at the base of Mt. Fuji

Toyota's city of the future will run only on hydrogen and solar power.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota is taking a page out of Hyundai's playbook when it comes to conceptualizing cities of future, but the Japanese automaker is taking it one major step further. They're actually building the city.

Called the Woven City, the 175-acre development will be fully powered by hydrogen fuel cells and serve as a living laboratory for full-time residents and researchers. Unlike the three-acre Biospehere 2, Woven City will not be enclosed and secluded from the real world.

Toyota Woven City 2020 2021 Woven City will incorporate a number of green spaces.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Woven City will feature autonomous, personal mobility, smart home, and artificial intelligence technologies working together in a way that has never been tested before.

"Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city's infrastructure," said Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corporation. "With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology… in both the virtual and the physical realms … maximizing its potential."

Woven City isn't an exclusive opportunity for Toyota. The company will open the site to commercial and academic partners as well as scientists and researchers from around the world.

"We welcome all those inspired to improve the way we live in the future, to take advantage of this unique research ecosystem and join us in our quest to create an ever-better way of life and mobility for all," said Toyoda.

Toyota Woven City 2020 2021 Woven City will be a live-work-pay community.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, CEO, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been commissioned to design Woven City. BIG has worked on many high-profile projects including 2 World Trade Center in New York, the Lego House in Denmark, and Google's Mountain View and London headquarters.

"A swarm of different technologies are beginning to radically change how we inhabit and navigate our cities," said Ingels. "Connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions are bound to unleash a world of opportunities for new forms of urban life. With the breadth of technologies and industries that we have been able to access and collaborate with from the Toyota ecosystem of companies, we believe we have a unique opportunity to explore new forms of urbanity with the Woven City that could pave new paths for other cities to explore."

Woven City's masterplan includes three types of street usage: vehicles-only, low speed personal mobility and pedestrians, and park-like promenades for pedestrians only. These three types serve as fertile testing ground for numerous types of autonomous technology.

Toyota is planning to have the entire space be fully sustainable. The buildings are mostly made of wood, which the company says is in an effort to minimize the carbon footprint of Woven City. Rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels, which will generation solar power to supplement the hydrogen fuel cells. Native vegetation and hydroponics will also be features.

The homes of Woven City will have robotics designed to assist with daily living. Sensor-based AI will check occupants' health and assist with daily lifestyle needs.

Toyota's Woven City

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to Toyota, only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. Toyota e-Palettes will be used for transportation and deliveries, as well as for changeable mobile retail.

There will be neighborhood parks, a large central park, and a central plaza.

Toyota is planning to have 2,000 people inhabit Woven City to start with plans to add more as the project evolves. A groundbreaking is planned in early 2021.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Kia Sorento has undergone a bold redo for 2021

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

We already knew what the redesigned 2021 Kia Sorento would look like thanks to its global reveal in March. Now we now what the U.S.-spec will be getting.

The Sorento will be available to U.S. customers in a new X-Line trim. It features a one-inch lift resulting in improved approach and departure angles. The grade also includes all-wheel drive with Snow mode, and a more robust roof rack.

201 Kia Sorento SX The Sorento has a new, sturdier roof rack.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia will offer the Sorento with four engine options in the U.S. The base power plant is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine achieves 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. It achieves 27 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is available.

Buyers will be able to upgrade the base model Sorento to get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that delivers 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed wet-clutch dual-clutch transmission - the same as what is offered in the Hyundai Veloster N - and is expected to achieve 25 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive is standard with this engine and all-wheel drive is available.

The front-wheel drive Sonata Hybrid will feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, 44.2 kWh electric motor, and six-speed automatic transmission.. That powertrain produces approximately 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That's more powerful than the standard four-cylinder in the 2020 Sorento but less horsepower than buyers would get with the 2020 Sorento with a V6. Kia says the model gets 37 mpg combined.

201 Kia Sorento X-Line The new Sorento X-Line model features black design accents and wheels.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

That same engine powers an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid variant of the model that will be available in 2021 and feature 261 horsepower and 30 miles of all-electric range.

U.S. drivers will be able to configure the model with either 4+2 or 5+2 seating. The three-row SUV offers best-in-class front and rear legroom and overall interior passenger volume.

The fully upgraded interior includes a standard 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen that gets bumped up to a 10.25-inch screen in higher trim levels. An available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster is available. There are eight USB charging ports (six in the LX model) and the larger screen allows for dual-phone Bluetooth Capability.

2021 Kia Sorento The interior of the Sorento features a new design for the automaker.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Opting for a system with UVO telematics adds cloud-based connected routing that allows navigation to be adjusted in real time according to evolving traffic and road conditions. There’s also weather information for up to 25,000 cities, voice assistant functionality, keyless entry user profiles, smart speaker integration, and advanced notifications for things like extended idle times and rear occupancy alerts. The system will automatically contact 911 should it sense that an airbag has deployed.

For the first time, Kia offers the model with on-demand Find My Car functionality with surround view technology that captures images of the vehicle’s surroundings then pushes them to the Kia Access Uvo app to aid in location. Additionally, last mile navigation provides walking directions to a final destination if the vehicle is parked between 0.1 and 1.2 miles away from the destination as entered in the navigation system.

A 12-speaker Bose sound system and wireless charging capability is available.

2021 Kia Sorento A 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen is available, Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has given the Sorento a host of standard safety features including forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and rear occupant alert. Blind spot collision avoidance assist, passenger safe exit, and blind view monitor technologies are available.

The 2021 Sorento is assembled in West Point, Georgia alongside the Telluride and the K5.

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The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is getting a makeover.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

When Mitsubishi debuted the Eclipse Cross in 2017, the model was revealed to show no similarities to the Eclipse that had garnered generations of enthusiasts for the Japanese automaker. Now, the Eclipse Cross is due for a makeover.

Ahead of a redesign, Mitsubishi is teasing the Eclipse Cross with a new photo.

The photo appears to show the Eclipse Cross with an elongated nose, restyled chrome accents on the front fascia, slanted and slim LED daytime running lights, and a new wheel design. The backside and side panels look very similar to the 2020 Eclipse Cross.

Mitsubishi 2020 lineup Mitsubishi is committed to debuting five models in the next 12 months. Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

"The new design draws inspiration from the Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept emphasizing the strength and dynamics from our SUV heritage, while enhancing the cleanliness and elegance of a coupe-like SUV," said Seiji Watanabe, division general manager of Design, MMC. "The Eclipse Cross is the first step toward the next generation of Mitsubishi Design, and there is so much more to come."

The e-Evolution Concept is an all-electric high-performance SUV prototype that showcases technology and body styling that Mitsubishi plans to bring to market in the near future.

Mitsubishi is set to have the new Eclipse Cross arrive in showrooms in the first quarter of 2021.

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi released details of an aggressive roster of product rollouts it has planned for the next year. Every model in its U.S. lineup will be touched as part of the redesign and refresh efforts as Mitsubishi looks to gain more market share.

The company recently relocated its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee and entered into the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network mentoring program in conjunction with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

The new My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

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