Creating stories of benevolence and wider relevance around its technological prowess, Japanese automaker Toyota
has enlisted the help of inventors Deeplocal
for the latest in its Ideas for Good
The engineers' Pittsburgh warehouse became a theme park for five weeks as the team took one Prius
, stripped it to its bones before repatriating parts into a 70ft in-house roller coaster, designed to show off the power-generating capability of the car's Syngergy Drive System, which converts energy from brakes into juice used elsewhere in the car.
Braking from 15mph after a 10ft drop, the Prius-shaped coaster car was able to generate enough power (6,000 watts) to light low-consumption LED bulbs lining the track and car, plus a full theme park light show.
Contagious spoke to Deeplocal and creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi, LA
, about the collaboration.
Deeplocal CEO Nathan Martin
explained that though safety precautions necessitated a simulation of the lighting effect, the Synergy Drive's capabilities exceeded the team's expectations.
'The coaster really took us back to childhood dreams. Initially we didn't know just how much power could be achieved,' he said. 'Perhaps the most coolest part is that I had a call from Funworld, a trade publication for theme parks. They're so excited about this project it has inspired them to call on product manufacturers to innovate.
'Innovation comes from splicing ideas and problems together. The interesting thing for us is that Toyota is taking this open approach, saying "we're taking something we've spent a shit load of money on, and making it available for everyone." Then these people have other problems than Toyota, which leads to innovation.'
Saatchi & Saatchi strategic planning director Shauna Axton
added: 'Quality alone isn't enough to sell cars anymore. We wanted to show what was unique about Toyota, their humanity. The company really does care. It's been an amazing success, and has shifted the conversation to something completely different for Toyota.'
Deeplocal, which sprung to prominence with its heavily garlanded Nike Chalkbot in 2009, also collaborated on the Ideas for Good programme by taking the solar power sunroof from the Prius and using it to create a self-powered, fully ventilated tent
for use by relief teams while out in the field.
The campaign continues with the help of Deeplocal as Toyota fly the people behind the best 25 suggestions
submitted to the Ideas for Good site flown to Pittsburgh on 3-5 June for a rapid prototyping weekend at Carnegie Mellon University. The winners will also receive their choice of a Prius, Highlander or Venza vehicle. www.toyota.com/ideas-for-good