Toyota’s Kayoibako EV concept is a modular shipping container and people carrier in one

One day it's a mobile library, the next it is transporting the kids to soft play

Toyota Kayoibako concept
(Image credit: Toyota)

When shopping for your next family vehicle, does the list of "must-haves" include the ability to transform your wheels into a mobile shop to serve the local community?

If the answer is a resounding "yes", you might want to put pressure on Toyota to usher its latest electric vehicle concept into production.

That's because the cute electric Kayoibako is based on Japanese shipping containers of the same name and can be configured with interchangeable interiors to meet different goods transportation needs.

The boxy design maximises on interior roominess, but also creates a funky and futuristic exterior design that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Total Recall. But really, the true USP of the concept is its ability to change and adapt on demand.

This is made possible by easily interchangeable interiors and intelligent software that can be customised for various uses. For example, it will happily transport people and act as the family minivan during the school run, but it can then be fitted-out to transport low-volume goods during the day, with built-in software linking up to smart distribution systems for last-mile logistics.

There is no official word on the electric propulsion system that will power it, but the concept imagery reveals an external power supply at the front, suggesting that Kayoibako can power tools, lights and charge devices on the go. 

The fact some of the early imagery features off-grid campers suggests Toyota’s boxy design could also be fitted out with beds and cooking systems for that ultimate compact camper van experience.

However, don’t expect it to pack the kitchen sink, as the exterior length is just 3,127mm, which is around the same size as the diminutive Kia Picanto. Or tiny, in other words.

The Kayoibako concept is just one of the many design studies Toyota and Lexus will reveal at the upcoming Japan Mobility Show, where it plans to show off everything from angular SUVs to potent two-seat sports cars. 

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.