Toyota introduces e-Palette, its mobile retail space

It’s a box store on wheels.

One of the big themes of this year's CES is mobility and Japanese automaker Toyota isn't about to be left out. Today at the annual consumer electronics conference, the company that brought us the Prius announced its mobile retail space, e-Palette meant to open up opportunities for businesses to create on-demand services and to "blur the lines between brick and mortar and online commerce."

It's fully electric and supports autonomous driving technologies either from Toyota or from the companies that use it. It's an open platform for ride-sharing, retail, delivery or anything else a business can think of.

"Just think how great e-Palette will be at Burning Man," said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, during the press event.

Toyoda started off the press event by proclaiming, "It's my goal to transition Toyota from an automobile company to a mobility company." He added that the automaker's current competitors include the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook.

The automaker already has partners for its new mobility platform. The e-Palette Alliance includes Pizza Hut, Uber, Mazda, Amazon and Didi. It's not too difficult to imagine an Amazon locker on wheels rolling into your neighborhood. Toyota will start testing the e-Palette in 2020.

While this isn't a consumer product, it does show that Toyota is thinking about how it'll transition to a world with fewer people buying cars. Toyoda said he's "less concerned with getting there first than getting it right."

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