What’s this: my insurance company won’t accept a Lexus cardboard car

November 12, 2015 | 10:25
Lexus Cardboard Electric Car
Lexus Cardboard Electric Car
Presented as an "origami inspired" vehicle and "a modern piece of performance art," Lexus latest concept car is fabricated out of custom cardboard segments —  fitted over a steel and aluminum frame I was relieved to read. Apart from the frame and electric motor, the car is made entirely out of cardboard, including the body, fully-fitted interior, and even the wheels and hubcaps.

Designed as a full-size replica of the Lexus IS, the vehicle is made up of about 1,700 individually shaped pieces of laser cut cardboard. It was created using a computer-scanned 3D model of the real Lexus IS, which was divided into a series of major parts — such as the body, dashboard, seats and wheels.

These got digitally sectioned into 10-mm "slices" that were used to create the individual cardboard sheets for assembly. The assembly itself involved the use of a water-based wood glue, which took 10 minutes for each application.

To help create the cardboard car, Lexus partnered with specialist custom prototype companies Laser Cut WORKS and Scales and Models in the UK. The car took a total of three months to build, and, according to the company, was produced as "a celebration of the human craftsmanship skills that go into every car Lexus makes."

Not depreciating the artistic, engineering and environmentally conscious efforts that went into this one-off vehicle I doubt how cardboard, wood glue and origami can add to Lexus’ widespread reputation of solid, reliable and safe vehicles including electrical ones. Fortunately the latter are for sale with reasonable delivery times.

Lexus replies that their factories are renowned for their technology and high quality output. But the company is also famous for hand craftsmanship, a discipline that goes to the heart of company culture.

Lexus master car-makers are known as the Takumi – an ancient Japanese word that roughly translates as “artisan” – and are highly respected. They are tasked with personally ensuring, by hand and eye, that the cars coming out of our factories are built and finished to unprecedented standards.

These skilled men and women who work on the Lexus production lines hone their dexterity skills by learning how to fold paper into an origami model cat, using only their non-dominant hand. The Origami Car takes this talent to a new level, while also capturing the spirit of Creating Amazing.

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