Big in Japan: The Honda PUYO is man’s best friend

This week (and last), Big in Japan will be bringing you scenes from the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show (???????????????????????) at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City.

For an overview of this biennial event, be sure to read Scenes from the Tokyo Motor Show. For all of you road warriors out there, don’t miss A look at the future of motorcycles. For anyone who loves crazy concept cars, check out The Nissan Pivo2 can pivot on a dime. For an intriguing look at the future personal transportation, see The Suzuki Pixy will help us survive the apocalypse. For a peek at the customizable interiors to come, see The future of Japanese automotive design.

What is man’s best friend? If you answered the Honda PUYO, than you’re correct.

Honda’s newest concept car is dubbed the PUYO, which is a Japanese onomatopoeia (??????) that is meant to convey a warm, friendly impression.

Seriously, there is a word for that Japanese – what an awesome language!

According to the Honda press release, the PUYO is a ‘fuel cell vehicle which was created to have a personable design with the feel of an adorable pet.’

Intrigued? Keep reading.

Here’s where things start to get cool.

The ‘Seamless Soft Box’ exterior of the PUYO is completely cornerless, which allows for the maximum possible spaciousness.

Believe it or not, the Honda PUYO can actually accommodate four Japanese people within its tiny frame, though I’m not sure if the designers took into consideration the size of your average American!

The PUYO is also constructed of a soft gel body, which has been made luminescent to guide people into the proper operating position, and to notify them of the vehicle’s overall condition.

This so called ‘silky feel’ is intended to provide a refreshing, people-friendly space imbued with a feeling of transparency, and to allow for intuitive operation of the vehicle.

In fact, the first thing drivers of the PUYO will notice is the lack of a steering wheel, which which has been replaced by a joystick that is used for operation and maneuvering.

Accompanying features include an instrument panel monitor, luminous fluid level displays, and elastic-like controls made from cloth that rise up when the vehicle starts.

Of course, the main appeal of the PUYO is that you can drive this adorable little contraption without harming the environment.

According to the Honda press release, the PUYO “represents a new idea in mobility that brings together the principals of clean, safe and fun all into one environmentally-responsible, people-friendly, yet minimalist design. The concept has a small frame, is ultra-efficient and is powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. “

So, it’s unlikely that you can teach the PUYO to sit, roll over and fetch the morning paper. But, with enough of a cute factor to inspire affection amongst even the most hardened of car owners, it’s not hard to see why the PUYO could easily be man’s best friend.

And, you can help save the planet by driving one!

Well, that’s it for our coverage of the biennial Tokyo Motor Show…

See ya’ll again in 2009!