Latest concept cars: the future starts here
In recent international showcases, car brands have shared their revolutionary ideas, displaying an array of eco-friendly concept vehicles which also offer performance and comfort.
The i-Road has one of the most futuristic appearances of recently unveiled concept cars. While other concept cars still resemble the appearance of traditional cars, the i-Road behaves and looks more like a scooteri. Indeed the practicality of its size, 2 seats and 3 wheels, is perfect for inner-city conditions, especially for driving in congested trafficii. And, unlike scooter riders, the passengers don't have to wear helmets.
The i-Road's Active Lean technologyi automatically balances the vehicle when turning corners. Its compact size makes parking simple: four i-Roads can fit into one regular car parking spoti. The i-Road's use is limited to inner-city driving, running on an electric motor with a range of 50kmi. Even so, it should be convenient to use, taking only 3 hours to recharge via a conventional power pointi.
Replicating the iconic Kombi van of the '60s and '70siii, VW introduces a new van in the Transporter range that is friendlier to the environment than its predecessoriv. Powered by electricityv, Volkswagen sees the e-Co-Motion as the solution to zero-emission goods transportationvi. They've designed the e-Co-Motion to have a low cargo floor height and large carrying capacity, and VW envisions the e-Co-Motion replacing small trucks as the environmentally friendly way to transport goods within citiesiv. The e-Co-Motion has a sporty look, including higher wheel arches, large alloy wheels and a unique side glass with a raked windowiv, vii.
Kia's new concept car looks like it could be future competition in the small car marketviii. With a distinctively urban feel, this 3-door 'coupe hatchback'viii has strong styling lines that convey speed and agilityix.
The sharply designed snout gives an aggressive appearance, with the thick silver and orange roof panel further enhancing the futuristic feel of this new Kia creationx. It also has a 'green' touch to it; drivers can select an electric-only mode at low speeds and use regenerative braking technology to recharge the electric motor as it's drivenviii.
Honda Acura NSX Concept
Honda brings together a sports car look and performance with hybrid technology in their Acura NSXxi Concept car. The NSX Concept has been described as a "practical supercar, suitable for daily use"xii.
Users will be able to switch between total electric or total petrol modexiii. This concept car has sleek touch-screen interfaces for its navigation, audio and climate controlxiv.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe HND-9
Hyundai describes their concept creation as "a modern interpretation of a classic premium sports coupe"xv.
While reflecting the traditional profile of a coupexvi, the Genesis, complete with butterfly doors, has a futuristic look with its minimalist cockpit, extended noise, and gaping grillexv. The combination of dual exhaust systems and strong lines provide an aggressive appearancexv.
Nissan Infiniti LE
Nissan's new concept vehicle presents a vision of a zero emission luxury carxvii. The interior has blue LED lights and a 2-touchscreen dashboard combined with classic Infiniti features such as the double-arch grillexviii. However, it's under the bonnet that the most changes have been made. The Infiniti LE is an electric vehicle with a substantial driving range of 160km, so it is appropriate for suburban as well as inner city drivingxvii.
One interesting innovation is the Inductive Wireless Charging Unit - installed on a garage floor - allowing the car to be charged without plugging it into a power point. And to make recharging even easier, the self-park system can automatically position the car above the charge pointxiv, xx.