There’s a particularly interesting post over on Wired’s Autopia.
It explains the popularity of small cars in Japan, where the streets are crowded and fuel isn’t cheap.
Kei cars are one particular class of small car in Japan. They came about after the Second World War, when the Japanese government wanted to give the country’s car industry a shot in the arm.
It created exemptions for cars below a certain size, the descendents of which survive today.
About 11 feet long and less than five feet wide, the tiny cars are ideal for driving on the crowded streets of Tokyo. With a maximum 660cc engine, they’re pretty economical to run, too.
A few kei cars have made it over to the UK, with Suzuki’s Cappucino and the Honda Beat both finding favour in the mid-90s.
But iQ isn’t a kei car. Although it is short, its stance is too wide for the kei car regulations, and at one litre its compact engine is a little too big.
iQ is just part of an upsurge of interest in Japanese car design, though. Later this month, the Science Museum opens Japan Car – a look at how Japan’s small cars may hold the answer to a crowded world’s transport needs.
iQ will be there, along with Toyota’s iREAL concept.