An Incredible Future Awaits! What We Can Learn from Our Dream Cars


The Toyota Automobile Museum is home to some truly unique eco-friendly cars from days gone by, all results of groundbreaking research toward carbon neutrality.

The vehicles on display at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagakute City, Aichi, certainly have character.

If given the chance, which would you choose to take for a spin?

Solaemon-Go (1992, Motorcar Museum of Japan collection)
Toyota Commuter (exhibited at the 1970 Tokyo Motor Show)
Toyota RaRaⅡ (exhibited at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show)

Though unlike anything found on the road, each of these cars really was made to be driven, not displayed.

Take the Solaemon-Go, for example, whose head opens up to reveal a cockpit.

And how exactly do you operate the Toyota Commuter's unconventional steering wheel?

While visitors are not allowed to climb into the exhibits, imagining yourself in the driver’s seat is a great way to enjoy the uniqueness of each vehicle.

But why is the museum showcasing such cars?

The distinctive shapes of the future

The Toyota Automobile Museum is currently showing several rarely-seen low-carbon vehicles as part of the exhibition “Let’s Think About SDGs in Toyota Automobile Museum: Part 3—Carbon Neutrality in Cars and Waste Materials,” running until January 14, 2024.

The museum, which sees the constant pursuit of sustainability as central to its mission, began organizing annual Let’s Think About SDGs exhibitions in 2021.

What is the message behind this third article?

Maki Fujii, Corporate Citizenship Div., Toyota Automobile Museum

People tend to think of the SDGs and carbon neutrality as something that limits our lifestyles, but beyond that lies a bright future. We want that message to resonate with all ages and generations, from children to adults.

To that end, we’ve created a space that makes visitors excited about the future, with a wide range of vehicles on display, including solar, flying, and biodiesel cars.

The venue also features graphics that make carbon neutrality easier to understand, ensuring guests have fun while learning the facts.

“Rather than trying to force ideas on people, we want to accurately convey the current situation and consider this problem together with visitors, helping them find ways to contribute, no matter how small.”

Such is the museum’s aspiration behind the exhibition. Among the most eye-catching displays are the solar cars, and the reaction from visitors led to a realization.

Rie Komuro, Corporate Citizenship Div., Toyota Automobile Museum

From elementary school students to couples in their 20s, many visitors are interested in the solar cars.

It might be because you don’t see it on the news much these days, but even we were surprised to learn that solar cars are still being researched, something that we only learned when we were preparing the exhibit.

Many visitors say the same thing and get excited about seeing them released commercially.

Solar cars are not relics of the past.

Or so the exhibition seems to suggest, but where does Toyota’s solar car development stand today?

We posed the question to Toyota’s leading solar power authority, who revealed some startling facts.