While most carmakers are focusing their attention on diving into the millennial market, the likes of Toyota are already developing vehicles that will appeal to the Generation Z. The said generation is composed of those who are presently aged 0 to 17 years old. Toyota is obviously not underestimating the impact of the Generation Z as it comprises nearly 23% of the US population. By 2020, they are expected to possess $3.20 trillion worth of purchasing power.
In cooperation with Clemson University-International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), Toyota has planned what might be the vehicle of the future— the uBox. Last month, the carmaker announced that it helped oversee the designing of the concept.
The Department of Automotive Engineering of CU already has the Deep Orange program. In partnership with Toyota, the program allows students to propose and design a new car prototype each year. Moreover, students do not only design the vehicle. They can also be involved in the actual building process.
According to CU Graduate Engineering Program Associate Professor Johnell Brooks, Deep Orange serves like an “automotive boot camp” as it allows students to get involved in the thorough car development process.
This 2016, Deep Orange participants focused on engineering a prototype that is dedicated for the Generation Z. While there is no way to determine the preferences of the said generation yet, the millennial engineers have developed some theories to aid them in coming up with the uBox concept.
• Need to Stand Out
Accordingly, the new generation always intends to stand out and to maintain a persona that is apart from everyone else. Because of that, the uBox was designed to be highly distinctive and ‘muscular’. More glass materials have been incorporated, making it look like something from the future.
• Need to Multi-Task
Multi-tasking seems to be the thing of the youth now. They find it weird not having to juggle and move from one thing to another. As a result, the uBox was specifically designed to be versatile. It can be customized depending on the needs of the users to carry out different activities. The uBox has a functional work station. Moreover, everything in the interior can be moved to make room for large cargo.
• Need to Be Environmental-Friendly
Since the threat of climate change is worsening, the youth has to be environmental-friendly. To meet this need, the uBox is electric-powered and emission-free. With its dual-purpose powertrain, the vehicle can power gadgets and grooming devices with the 110-volt sockets located in both the exterior and the interior.