February 9th, 2009
Concept Cars, Hybrids/Alternative, Geneva Motor Show, Green
New technologies are set to dramatically change the way that future cars are designed, at least according to German design firm EDAG, which is set to debut its latest concept vehicle – called the “Light Car – Open Source” – at the Geneva Motor Show in March. EDAG claims this is the first car to be made from basalt fiber, which is sort of like carbon fiber but much cheaper and fully recyclable. That’s not the most interesting bit, though, as sitting just below the concept car’s glass-like surface are strings of organic light-emitting diodes that are user-configurable and can change the look of the car’s headlamps and interior cockpit, as well as use the tail-gate as a projection screen to “communicate” with other cars around it.
Hub-mounted electric motors draw power from an on-board lithum-ion battery pack that’s said to be capable of providing a range of 93 miles (150 kilometers). The lack of an engine or transmission enables “luxury class” levels of space inside with compact class outer dimensions. So, what’s the open source part of the project? EDAG claims that it’s actively approaching other companies to work on the development of this concept car with the goal of defining what the car of the future will be. Stay tuned for our reactions after seeing the concept live in Geneva for ourselves.
February 4th, 2009
Concept Cars, Detroit Auto Show, Economy, Green, Tech, Hatchbacks, Ford, Lincoln
Play the word association game with an average American, and when the topic is “Lincoln,” you’re likely to hear words like “traditional,” “big,” and “limousine.” Terms describing compact hatchbacks like the Concept C shown above simply won’t be on the tips of anyone’s tongues. So what gives? Has Dearborn finally looped it? Take a closer look, and what at first seems like a designer pet project reveals a good deal more forethought and finesse.
Yes, the Concept C is small. Said to be underpinned by the next-generation Ford Focus platform, this is a C-segment car, much shorter than any current Lincoln, and indeed, much shorter than any Lincoln we can recall. But how about that width? Emphasized by its sizable fenders and the strong shoulder-line in the doors (said to be inspired by the saddle tanks on go karts), the Concept C may be as long as a Focus, but it’s roughly as wide as a MKZ sedan. The extra width and the upright greenhouse (there’s almost no tumblehome at all) mean that the C can accommodate two rows of three full-sized adults in surprising comfort. The bustle back shape reminds of a number of Gallic automobiles, including the previous Renault Megane, but rather amazingly, the formal roofline, twin wing grilles and full-width rear light bar that are Lincoln hallmarks don’t look out of place. Click on the gallery below or follow the jump to read more about the Concept C and check out the official press releases.
January 30th, 2009
Concept Cars, Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Green, Cadillac
Here’s another one from the world of unlimited conceptual design: the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel concept. Otherwise known as the Cadillac WTF. Created by Loren Kulesus, everything about the WTF has been created to last 100 years without maintenance. That’s the reason for the element number ninety, thorium: to act as a nuclear fuel powering batteries that would power the car.
Elsewhere, every major system is redundant in case of a failure. And the wheels don’t have individual tires – in fact, what’s located at each corner is one combined unit made up of six individual wheels. That gives you 24 wheels in total, and each wheel has its own induction motor. Said Kulesus, “The vehicle would require the tires to be adjusted every five years, but no material would need to be added or subtracted.” Here’s to the future. While you wait for it, have a look at the Cadillac WTC in the gallery of high-res photos below.
January 26th, 2009
Concept Cars, Etc., Motorcycles
And now for something completely different. If designer Tan Sohanpall set out to create a new concept vehicle that shared little in common with other accepted designs, then he succeeded. Sure, there have been three-wheeled vehicles since the early dawn of transportation, but few if any have ever featured two wheels on one side and one with a wider contact patch on the other. We have serious doubts as to whether this arrangement would actually work in the real world, but as a concept it’s pretty cool. The Enigma is intended to be a car for thrill-seekers, and it looks the part.
Other unique bits include a single-occupant driver compartment that slides rearward at high speeds and a tilting body that could theoretically lean into turns. There’s no indication of what would actually power the Enigma, but it looks like some sort of turbine or ducted fan arrangement. Interesting? Undoubtedly. Realistic? Not so much, but so what? As a concept, we love its asymmetric audacity.
January 7th, 2009
Sedans/Saloons, Geneva Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Porsche, Misc. Auto Shows
As far as digital images go, there isn’t much left to see of the new Porsche Panamera. Still, there’s something special about seeing a new car in person, and the first chance the public will get to see the latest Swabian hatchback four-door grand touring sports car will be at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show in April, not at the Geneva show a month earlier as initially planned.
With Porsche pushing back the Panamera’s official intro, the German sports car maker clearly acknowledges that emerging markets such as China are extremely important to its growth. Its sales doubled last year in China while falling in both America and Europe. Experts expect this trend to continue well into 2009, so Porsche will be relying heavily on the Chinese to reach its goal of 20,000 highly-profitable Panameras per year.
Gallery: 2010 Porsche Panamera