An innovative hybrid project is turning heads across Japan, as the TOTO Bike Neo, known more causally as the poop-mobile, makes a high-profile pitch for environmental responsibility.
The three-wheeled bike is powered by biogas fuel made up of fertilized, purified livestock waste and gray-water, according to the International Business Times. Despite the eye-catching -- and decorative -- oversized-toilet seat, the bike does not actually run on excrement provided by the driver.
"Although the seat of the bike is indeed a toilet, it is not for actual use," company spokesperson Kenji Fujita told Reuters. "The fuel is eco-friendly biogas, stored in the tanks on the back. It's a surprisingly nice way to travel."
The TOTO Bike Neo is not just for show, however. The bike can travel as far 180 miles per tank of waste, motoring along at 45 miles per hour, according to the AFP and Reuters, and has been zipping around the country throughout the past year raising awareness for the company's TOTO Green Challenge initiative.
The project has been in development since 2009, according to Autoblog. Last year, the bike's tour eventually covered hundreds of miles, but TOTO recently decided the bike deserved a victory lap and reintroduced the bike Thursday in a Fujisawa showroom.
Japan's best-known toilet maker (it also has a U.S. division) aims to provide products that can reduce CO2 emitted from plumbing equipment in the home by over 50 percent by 2017, according to its website.
Right now there are no plans to commercially market the niche motorcycle, which can write messages in Japanese using LED lights. TOTO has aggressively promoted the bike, producing several television ads and posting periodic blog entries during the bikes cross-country ride.
The project seems to have been popular among Japanese costumers and has even inspired a fan-produced tribute video, featuring a singing toilet.
While certainly unique, this is not TOTO's first toilet-related publicity stunt. The company also hosts yearly bathroom-themed poetry competitions. Winning wordsmiths, writing in the Senryu style, receive a high-tech toilet seat and get their poetry printed on limited edition toilet paper rolls sure to engage a captive audience.