Apparently, Generation Z likes to think outside of the box, and drive one, too.
The uBox is the result of a collaboration between Toyota and Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research that was designed by graduate students as part of the school’s ongoing Deep Orange project, which each year churns out a new vehicle concept aimed at young car shoppers.
The sixth car in the series, the uBox is a multi-purpose vehicle designed for transportation, work and socializing. The chunky, clamshell door-equipped crossover features an electric powertrain that can deliver take-off power for tools and electronic equipment when the vehicle is parked, and a reconfigurable interior with sliding, nesting seats that can juggle between cargo and people carrying, as needed.
As much an exercise in engineering as design, the uBox was built with a unique roof structure comprised of rails made from carbon fiber composite pultrusions bonded with aluminum. They’re shaped into suspension bridge-style buttresses that extend beyond the windshield, and leave plenty of open space above for transparent ceiling panels.
Toyota Executive Program Manager Craig Payne says in innovative approach is an industry first. So is an interior that uses 3D-printed door trim, bezels and vents that would allow owners to design their own parts to customize the car if the uBox went on sale.
As a concept, it won’t, but some of its ideas could end up in future production cars if Toyota finds out that the rest of Gen Z thinks the same way these students do.