When the Tokyo Motor Show opens at the end of October, Yamaha will have 20 different vehicles on its stand and 6 of them will be on view for the first time.
Yamaha is not well known to most car enthusiasts, but it has been intimately involved behind the scenes on several significant automobiles. It was a consultant to the Toyota Formula One team, where its expertise at building high performance engines was put to good use. Several years ago, it partnered with Ford Motor Company to build the V-6 engines used in the Taurus SHO.
At one time, Yamaha toyed with the idea of building its own 12 cylinder supercar, but the final product proved too costly. Now the company has released a sketch of a car it says will be on display this year in Tokyo. Absolutely no details are known about the car, although it appears that its front end is too low for a conventional gasoline engine, leading to speculation that it may be a mid-engine car or even an electric vehicle. We will know more in about 10 days.
Yamaha is known for building motorcycles, very fast motorcycles, in fact. Its machines just captured the 2015 MotoGP championship. In Tokyo, it will showcase an electric motorcycle with two motors — one for the rear wheel and a smaller one powering the front wheel. An all wheel drive motorcycle is a rare beast. How its handling will compare to driving a traditional bike is unknown, but it could offer significant advantages for off road riding.
Yamaha will also showcase several new small motorcycles for markets where bikes are used regularly for daily transportation. There will be a 4 wheel prototype with articulated suspension that leans into turns as well. Electric bicycles will be featured as well.
Yamaha is never going to challenge any of the major car makers, but it is destined to play an important role in the future of mobility, especially in the congested urban environments of the future.