|Green Cars of the Future: 13 Crazy Eco Vehicles|
Aside from small cosmetic changes, cars really haven’t changed all that much in the past 60 years, and we’re nowhere near the ultra-futuristic vehicles that previous generations thought we’d have by now. But that might be about to change radically, especially with advances in renewable energy technologies. These 13 low-emissions, energy-efficient car designs represent both amazing visions of the future (perhaps too wild to ever actually be reality) and vehicles that are actually set to hit the roads within a few years.
Solar-Powered Renault Kidma
(images via: auto motto)
While it’s parked, the Renault Kidma charges up its battery using energy from the sun. The blue rings around the exterior of this solar-powered vehicle actually shift to cool down the interior. It’s skinned in a nano-material that can change color according to the riders’ whim, with the touch of a button. The car is guided by a GPS system. Designed by Thomas Felix, the Kidma is super-compact, making it ideal for rental in big cities.
Aiolos Concept Car
(images via: yanko design)
This spherical object is a car. Really. Designer Kyoung Soo Na envisions it for a new, greener Seoul, South Korea, in which buildings equipped with wind turbines produce enough energy to power little pollution-free electric vehicles. And when this one-seater vehicle is being driven, built-in turbines capture additional energy.
Proxima Car-Bike Hybrid
(images via: auto motto)
Sleek and aerodynamic, this little vehicle combines aspects of both cars and bikes to produce a nimble design with two tandem seats. It looks more like a car from the front, with wide-set wheels, but the back end is narrow like a bike, aiding its maneuverability.
Citroen E-3POD Antistatic Commuter
(images via: gizmag)
Conceived as an entry-level electric commuter vehicle for young people and students, the Citroen E-3POD is the result of a challenge project at London’s Royal College of Art. Another car-bike combo, the E-3POD is ultralight, cheap to build and energy-efficient. The rear wheel circles around the body of the vehicle and provides structural support. The small size and lightness of the materials draw less energy from the battery than a more conventional design.
Modi-Corp Pius Kit Car
(images via: pius kitcar)
This one-seater electric vehicle comes in a kit so you can build it yourself – and it’s set to be released in Japan next year. The Modi-Corp Pius is a mere 48 inches wide by 98 inches long and reaches a top speed of just 21 miles per hour, so it’s not exactly street-legal. It appears to be more of a learning project for young people who want to see first-hand how electric vehicles work.
Zero-Emissions Drayson Race Car
(images via: drayson racing)
Even race cars, with their increased demand for fuel, can be green. The B12/69EV prototype by Drayson Racing Technologies is a great example – it was the fastest electric car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb race. It’s powered by an 850 horsepower electric drivetrain, and powers its battery through specially installed charging spots on the floor, eliminating the need for a cable.
Smart 341 Parkour
(images vía: mercedes benz)
Mercedes-Benz imagines the compact electric car of the future with the Smart 341 Parkour, which features a completely transparent passenger cell for maximum visibility. But it’s not actually going to hit the streets any time soon. It’s a concept for the Hollywood car of the future. What makes the Smart 341 Parkour a little less likely to be commercially available than many similar concepts is the fact that it can climb up the facades of skyscrapers. Oh, and it can fly. How? Mercedes doesn’t really explain, but they don’t have to, given that it’s fictional.
Chevrolet N-GO Electric Car
(images via: cristian polanco)
Designer Cristian Polanco came up with this concept, the Chevrolet N-GO. The zero-emissions N-GO is an electric vehicle with a shape inspired by the natural curves of plants. The body is made of durable, recyclable composite thermoplastic and its interior is upholstered with bamboo fabric.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Sport Air
(images via: autoblog)
Shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009, the i-MiEV Sport Air is a follow-up to the automaker’s current MiEV electric vehicle. Skyrocketing in the horsepower department with 680 Nm of torque, the i-MiEV Sport Air has a removable transparent roof. Weighing 25% less than the current model, it sounds like it just might live up to Mitsubishi’s promise that it will be a “proper sports car” for people who care about looks, speed, handling and the environment.
DOK-ING Concept Car
(images via: doking automotive)
Croatian automaker DOK-ING brings us this three-seater concept car called the XD, which can travel up to 155 miles per charge with lithium ion phosphate batteries. The compact electric XD is set to go into production this year.
Vieria One-Person Electric Car
(images via: michelin challenge design)
The Vieria One-Person Electric Car doesn’t just avoid putting CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it actually cleans pollution from the air. Designed by two South Korean students, the vehicle looks like another car/bike hybrid with a slim body design and wheels that actually shift their width as you drive depending on road conditions. The front intake valve of the car sucks in air, filters out pollutants and pushes clean air out of a rear valve.
BMW i3 Megacity Concept Car
(images via: bmw)
Expected to go into mass production in 2013, the BMW i3 is the first vehicle to be released under BMW’s new sub-brand, BMW i. The compact urban electric car has a lightweight body made of carbon-reinforced plastic to reduce its energy consumption. It’s made especially for people who live in ‘megacities’, or metropolitan areas with more than 10 million residents. The i3 seats four people, gets 100 miles per charge and will cost around $35,000.
(images via: wikimedia commons)
How small can an SUV be before it ceases to be an SUV? The Renault Captur is a ‘supermini’ crossover SUV with 22-inch SUV-sized wheels and a car-like body. Though it’s just a concept, it’s an intriguing look at where SUVs might be headed – i.e., into much greener territory with far lower CO2 emissions.