Concept Cars: Futuristic and Eco-Friendly
According to Motor Trend, the automotive landscape in this country is going to change profoundly over the next decade. With these changes come strict fuel-consumption regulations. As the price of gas inevitably increases, the government will be strongly encouraging consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Car companies are quickly coming out with ideas to keep their brands at the forefront of the ever-growing auto industry. Here's a look at some futuristic concept cars that will potentially be hitting the highways sooner than we might think.
Lincoln | Concept C
The Lincoln Concept C is looking to maintain the idea of all-American luxury for the future car buyer, especially in the changing automotive world. The Europeans and Asians have been putting similar cars on the roads for over 40 years, so it was about time an American spin was put on this very specific vehicle genre.
Lincoln proudly notes its use of banana-leaf floor mats, recyclable, chromium-free leather, and 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine with a projected 43 mpg highway. This eco-friendly model also contains a stop/start system that shuts down the engine at red lights and stop signs. While this might sound inefficient to the driver, according to Motor Trend, restarts use only a fraction of the starter energy required for a cold start. It injects and ignites fuel in the cylinder closest to top-dead-center on the compression stroke. This is one tree-hugging vehicle that will leave a small carbon footprint while still making a lasting impression on the industry.
Hyundai | Nuvis
Hyundai's Nuvis is on the fast track to becoming the leader in fuel efficiency in the U.S. automotive industry. According to Hyundai, they are planning to beat the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's deadline by five years in achieving a fleet average 35 mpg by 2015.
The Nuvis maintains a SUV-style body which allows for extra passenger and cargo room, while its futuristic styling and low frame stance give it a sporty appearance. Powered by a hybrid system and backed up by a 270-watt lithium-polymer battery, the Nuvis is ready to hit the open road and shows no signs of stopping.
Volkswagen | BlueSport
Volkswagen has been on a mission to build an affordable, yet economical, two-seat roadster, and the BlueSport is the result. Designers decided on an aluminum frame and body panels to reduce weight. VW boasts the inclusion of its popular 2.0L TDI turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. According to Motor Trend, it produces an impressive 178-hp at 4200 rpm and 258 lb-ft at 1750 rpm which is more than enough power to make the BlueSport zoom to 60 mph in a mere 6.2 seconds on its way to hitting its 140 mph top speed.
Extensive testing is still being done on the BlueSport before it can go to production, but it is already creating quite a buzz. The BlueSport attains a fuel rating of 42 mpg and perfectly mates a super sporty exterior with an earth-friendly interior. Production is rumored to start in early 2012, so look out for this speedster in the next year or two.
Audi | A3 TDI Clubsport Quattro
We know this car does one thing well: Gets attention. You'll no doubt get noticed in the Audi ClubSport Quattro's racing stripes and bold red and white color scheme. What's getting even more attention is actually under the hood. According to Audi the high-torque 2.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is pumping out 224 hp, sending this racer to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds, and to a top speed of 149 mph.
Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system sits on 20-inch wheels and gets its stopping power from the front, courtesy of the six-piston brake calipers and ceramic brake discs. This allows the driver to respond quickly and seamlessly to every driving situation.
Hummer | HX
Hummer has never been shy about bullying the roads with its massive size and military-inspired exterior. However, GM's once popular rough and tough brand is learning to evolve now that America's love affair with these gas guzzling giants is quickly diminishing as fuel prices consistently increase.
Slightly over 14 feet long, the Hummer HX contains a 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 and 304 horsepower. GM's tiny step toward an eco-friendly way of driving comes with a 6L50 six-speed automatic and full-time 4WD system. The interior is simplistic, containing lightweight seats and aluminum frame accents. There's also no radio, only speakers and a USB connector for MP3 players. Hummer hasn’'t definitively stated the miles per gallon on the HX probably due to the fact that it's not in line with its competitor's concept models. We'll just have to check back with them to see how this brand continues to change with the times.
Toyota | RiN
The RiN is certainly one of the more curious-looking concept cars to come from Toyota's creative team. Appearing to be a mix between a greenhouse and a golf cart, the RiN is all about a healthy lifestyle and serenity, and less about being conventional. According to Toyota, the RiN accomplishes these things through seats that promote proper back posture, image displays that match the driver's state of mind via the "mood training" steering wheel, and a built-in oxygen-level conditioner and pinpoint humidifier.
The tinted glass is used to block damaging UV and infrared rays and makes the driver's surroundings appear brighter and clearer. The RiN comes equipped with commonly seen vehicle features like heated seats and sliding doors, but I wouldn't count on seeing this one on the market any time soon.
GMC | Denali XT
According to GMC, this is the first time its two-mode hybrid system will join with an E85 ethanol-capable engine. E85 is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline; this 4.9L engine with Active Fuel Management makes the Denali XT extremely agile with 326 horsepower. Among its biggest assets, it offers a 50-percent increase in combined fuel economy over comparably-sized midsize pickup trucks when running on gasoline, as reported by Motor Trend.
This hybrid concept truck has a unibody architecture and is rear-wheel drive, but still categorized as a Sport-Utility Truck. The interior contains some unique features as well. When the numbers on the dashboard instruments are illuminated, they appear to be floating. There is also a large center interface screen to control the XT's various interior systems. We can definitely applaud GMC for its efforts to make a green vehicle that will continue to appeal to its consumers, while staying true to its classic design and features.
BMW | GINA
BMW's GINA (Geometry and Functions In "N" Adaptions) model was designed with complete creative freedom that is evident when you take a closer look. The exterior of the GINA features a material resembling fabric that BMW says is flexible, durable and highly resistant to expansion. Underneath this curious fabric covering is a light, aluminum frame that, according to Motor Trend, is moveable via electric and hydraulic controls, allowing the surface itself to be reshaped according to the owner's desire.
You might be wondering where the BMW GINA is hiding its headlights. As seen in the photo, when the headlights are off they remain under the covering, and when activated the frame moves the material away from the grille illuminating its double lights. I'd say sleek and exceptional best describes this futuristic concept car.
Honda | PUYO
The word 'PUYO' comes from a Japanese expression for the sensation you would feel when touching this vehicle's soft exterior. A warm, inviting, friendly feeling is what the Honda wants the PUYO to give off with its minimalist design that's fun for the driver and observer.
According to Honda, the theme upon which the PUYO was developed was to create a cornerless, 'Seamless Soft Box' frame that's engaging to consumers and kind to the earth. Even more eccentric is the luminescent body designed to guide drivers into the proper operating position and notify them of the vehicle's changing conditions. Honda believes this will facilitate a more intimate relationship between people and their cars.
Cadillac | Provoq
Cadillac is going to the head of the class as GM's soon-to-be leader in driving technology. Cadillac says the Provoq will do zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, top out at 100 mph, and run for 280 miles between hydrogen fill-ups. They have a right to brag considering the Provoq's zero to 60 mph speed is more than a 30 percent improvement over the previous-generation fuel cell system. Motor Trend reports that this model has a full belly pan, a large rear spoiler, seven-spoke wheels with polycarbonate fillers, pop-out door handles and mirrors that are as small as possible.
Over 15 feet long and 65 inches tall, you'd think the Provoq would have a little more than two rows of passenger seating, but makes up for it in unique accessories. This model boasts some clever components like the solar panel roof to help power onboard controls, such as the interior lights and audio system, brake-by-wire technology and front grille louvers that close at highway speed to enhance aerodynamics. Though from the outside it might look like we've seen this type of model before, only when inside and on the road can one truly see the advances Cadillac has made with this stylish concept car.