Patent and trademark filings might seem like a bunch of boring paperwork to some people. To motorcycle and automotive folks, though, they’re often pretty interesting because they can give us a glimpse into the future. In August 2023, for example, Toyota filed a trademark application for the name “Land Hopper” in Japan, as reported by our colleagues over at Motor1.
“You’re RideApart. Don’t you do motorcycles?”
We do, yes. If you’re wondering why we’re talking about Toyota (again), it’s because the Land Hopper turns out not to be what most car folks thought it was when the trademark was released. To be totally fair, you can’t really blame anyone for expecting that a “Land Hopper” would somehow be related to the venerable, multi-generational reign of the Land Cruiser. Lots of car folks thought that it could, perhaps, be the name of a less expensive version of the Land Cruiser. I mean, it makes perfect sense.
On 21 October 2023, while the anticipation around the 2023 Japan Mobility Show builds to a fever pitch, Toyota finally revealed what the Land Hopper actually is. It turns out that it’s a “three-wheeled electric personal mobility concept.” It’s basically an electric trike, but more in a moped sense, not in a massive motorcycle sense.
Toyota hasn’t released much in the way of technical details about the Land Hopper—which also makes sense, because this is just part of a larger teaser for what it’s bringing to the Japan Mobility Show.
Here’s What We Know About the Toyota Land Hopper
The first thing to note is that the Toyota Land Hopper isn’t only a three-wheeler—it's a folding three-wheeler. Toyota is positioning it as a last-mile vehicle, something you can stow away inside your car or truck (perhaps your Land Cruiser) and use to perambulate about the premises once you’ve arrived.
The Toyota Land Hopper won't require a motorcycle license in Japan, or probably in most countries. See, Japan operates on a tiered motorcycle licensing system, but vehicles meeting certain requirements (low speed capability is chief among them) can be operated by drivers over the age of 16 without requiring a motorcycle license.
This is also true in Europe and most of the rest of Asia as well, so it’s also an important consideration if and when Toyota plans to bring the Land Hopper to markets outside Japan.
Does The Toyota Land Hopper have anything to do with Yamaha?
The Toyota Land Hopper is a leaning three-wheeler, with the leaning functionality taking place up front, where two wheels are located. While Toyota has partnered with Yamaha in the past, and Yamaha currently makes and markets its own line of leaning multi-wheeled vehicles, we don’t yet have any evidence that this vehicle has anything to do with Yamaha.
The Niken GT is the most well-known leaning multi-wheeled vehicle that Yamaha has produced, as it’s a unique three-wheeled motorcycle. The Tricity line of leaning multi-wheeled scooters has been released in Asia and Europe, while the Tritown leaning multi-wheeled last-mile vehicle remains a concept in 2023. At least, so far—it's October, and EICMA is in November, so there’s still time for Yamaha to surprise us.
Anyway, back to the Tritown. The original concept wasn’t foldable and didn’t have the same leaning mechanism up front as the Toyota Land Hopper appears to have from the limited number of images that have been released. However, an important thing to keep in mind about concepts is that they can (and frequently do) change over time. We don’t have any indication so far that Yamaha had anything to do with the Land Hopper, but we also wouldn’t completely disregard the possibility.