Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer, has expanded its operations further into the marine world with the launch of a new 28-foot powerboat concept at the 2016 Japan International Boat Show.
Toyota has previously stated that its goal is to “develop, produce and sell marine products that are environmentally clean and safe.” That, of course, is deeply uninteresting – but some of the developments on the new 28 (the first product to emerge from the company’s collaboration with Yanmar) look much more worthy of investigation.
The hull for instance differs markedly from the aluminium craft we have previously seen from Toyota. Plainly, the material offers some tremendous user benefits (not least in terms of strength, light weight, rigidity and easy maintenance), but the complexity of the manufacturing process can limit the scale of production. So Toyota and Yanmar have been working on a solution that will enable large-scale production – and the result of that is the ‘Toyota Hybrid Hull’.
By combining an FRP hull with carbon fibre and aluminum inserts the new craft will apparently be able to incorporate complex, curved shapes without compromising rigidity. In fact, according to Toyota, this careful fusion of three building materials, alongside Yanmar’s advanced vacuum resin infusion processes, will make the finished hull seven times more rigid than a fibreglass model and 10 per cent lighter than an aluminium one.
Of course, the 28 is still at the concept stage for now, but if all goes to plan, Yanmar’s construction of the new boat will see it hit the water at some point in October. In the mean time, Toyota will apparently continue to investigate ways of increasing its collaboration with Yanmar in product development, component supply and after-sales service.
For more on the up-and-coming ideas in boating, see: Boating trends for 2016 and 5 extraordinary boats: inspired or absurd?