Toyota President On Its New Mobility Service: Think How Great It Could Be 'At Burning Man'

Introducing Toyota’s new body pod concept called the e-Palette at this year’s CES, the automaker’s president, Akio Toyoda, offered up a few ideas on how it could be utilized: parcel delivery, ride sharing, mobile e-commerce. Toyoda had one more: Burning Man! Yowza.

Toyota scored a number of big-name partners to announce for the rollout of e-Pallete, including Uber, Amazon, Pizza Hut, and Mazda. It’s aiming to launch the service at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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When that happens, Toyoda told an adoring crowd of tech fanatics, he pitched the weird, self-driving boxes as a perfect utility for another Very Silicon Valley event.

“Just think how great e-Palette will be at Burning Man,” Toyoda said. Hot damn.

Coming from Uber’s CEO or any cookie cutter Silicon Valley startup, this would be a throwaway comment. But it’s Toyoda! Expectedly, those in attendance were caught off guard by his insistence that e-Palette could be used at Burning Man—no, folks, this thing will be at Burning Man.

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It’s a brave new world folks. You know we’re in a new territory when the president of the world’s largest automaker is pitching his tech thing as a device to be used for the annual pilgrimage to Burning Man. I think it kind of depresses me, too.

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Ryan Felton

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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