Concept cars can predict the future
They don't just look cool. Concept cars can be a crystal ball into the future. Here's what the most recent crop tells us.
Toyota NS4 Concept
Concept cars — futuristic, imaginative creations that automakers trot out to showcase new designs, technologies or corporate intentions — are a highlight of the auto show circuit. There are a lot of them, and the lifecycle is pretty much the same: pre-show hype, the car's unveiling, and on to the next concept. It's hard to keep track of the ones that are truly innovative and easy to forget the ones that, well, aren't.
But when you sit down and cull through more than a year's worth of concept vehicle debuts, patterns start to emerge that give a clue as to what your car may look like in the not-so-distant future. (Note: By "future" we mean the near future, and by "concept" we mean fairly functional, intact vehicles — no sketches for flying cars or wacky one-off shade-tree projects.)
Here are several things you may notice about your next car, all of which can be traced back to a concept released in the past few years.
Your Next Car Will Likely Be a Hybrid or EV
Sorry, petrol fans: If concept vehicles are any indication, everything from hot hatches to near-luxury sedans to top-of-the-range supercars will be powered by some form of a hybrid or electric drivetrain. That's right, most of the recent high-power sports concepts run on hybrid or electric power: Ferrari F70 — check; BMW i8 — check; Jaguar C-X16 — check; and Lexus LF-LC — check, again.
The more everyday fare is well-represented, too, with everything from the Nissan Ellure concept unveiled in Los Angeles in 2010 to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV II that bowed in Tokyo in 2011 to the Chevrolet Code 130R sport sedan shown at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. All are powered by some form of gas-electric system.
There's no reason to think automakers will pull a gasoline bait-and-switch for any production models as they have in the past. While concept-vehicle tech can sometimes be pie-in-the-sky fantastic, the 54.5 mpg corporate fuel-economy (CAFE) standards set for 2025, along with tightening emissions standards worldwide, are all too real and will require that most of these vehicles actually be built as hybrids and EVs.
Your Car Will Have an Odd Number of Doors
Far-out styling is expected on concept vehicles, but one very pragmatic detail has been popping up from Shanghai to Chicago: Be they hatchbacks, shooting brakes or wagons, a whole bunch of concepts are of the 3- or 5-door variety.
Chalk it up to automakers' newfound obsession with efficiency. A rear-loading hatch is simply the easiest way to boost cargo space without sacrificing interior room. How else to explain the Hyundai i-oniq shooting brake (Geneva), the Subaru Advanced Tourer wagon (Tokyo) or the Nissan Invitation, Suzuki G70 or Audi A2 (Geneva, Tokyo and Frankfurt, respectively), plus literally dozens of other hatchbacks that have dominated the shows? And while hatches and wagons are concept fare typically shown in Europe and Asia the go-to sales demographic for the segments the Ford Fiesta ST concept (Los Angeles), Kia Trackster (Chicago) and Mercedes-Benz A-Class concept (New York) all took a bow in the United States.
Your Car Will Have Carbon Fiber and Other Lightweight Bits
Right now, carbon fiber, aluminum space frames and other super-lightweight alloy bits are expensive, very expensive. The stuff is found mostly in supercars and high-end luxury sport sedans. But thanks to technological, scientific and manufacturing advancements, those materials are getting cheaper and easier to work with. Given that cutting weight is one of the easiest ways to boost fuel efficiency — and given that fuel-economy standards are only going up, and fast — suddenly automakers have a serious incentive to find cost-effective ways to incorporate superstrong and ultralight materials.
It's why a number of concepts geared toward the everyday driver, such as the Buick Envision crossover and BMW i3 city car, have made use of carbon-fiber frames. Volkswagen used an aluminum space frame for similarly featherweight strength in its Nils concept, which was unveiled in Frankfurt in 2011.
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wow I cant believe the thoughts of some people. No one wants to invest money in a technology that has no set in stone future. Lets take a recap of some of the technology we have here ok.
Hybrids- Neat idea but to expensive, Youll never save enough on gas to break even on cost of the vehicle. They wont take us off oil. They only look good if you feel that a standard gas powered is hurting the planet. Plus as in my last comment hybrid drivers usually are the ones doing 90 miles an hour down the high way when the MPGs are the worst on a hybrid.
E85- Great for raising the costs of everything at the grocery store! Guess what corn is used in alot of products and food. So less corn for that means the price of everything goes up up up! Has half the energy output of gas so your MPGs go down down down! Costly vehicle repairs have been seen using E85. COME ON PEOPLE WE ARE BURNING OUR FOOD SOURCE IN OUR GAS TANKS, what country would do that?
Electric Vehicles- Super expensive, cant get to work for most americans. Battery technology is so far from being good enough to match oil its not even close. Stick to golf carts for right now. Im done talking about this technology yet for some reason, my tax money goes to help people pay for Chevy Volts. Damn that sucks.
Oil is here to stay everyone for now at least. Its cheap, its all over the world and its ready now. Untill this country starts drilling for it we will pay more and more for it. Its not rocket science we all want cleaner newer technology but its not ready. Come on you guys, Most Americans dont want to drive little vehicles. Most Americans want to buy what they want to buy. You can still but its almost unaffordable for most. We all have sold off our trucks and big cars, hell most companies dont even make American luxury vehicles, RIP lincoln Towncar, Mercury Grand Marquis, Big Caddys. Weve bought little cars and fuel is at a all time low for demand and yet we pay more and more. You cant save money with little cars people. You buy then and you will continue to pay more not less for gas. There is NO SUCH THING AS SAVING MONEY WITH ENERGY EFFICENTCY. Its a set up, consume less and pay the same or more for it. Its the govenment and the EPA, They want you to consume less pay the same because they blame you for so called damage to the planet.
So those are the future of cars, they look the same as what we have on the street. When they talk electric cars and fuel efficient cars heck we are at least 10 years stalled in the effort to get them to the street. Big oil has a strangle hold on your wallet.
Your money goes to big oil refineries to help with new oil alternatives while the owners of them walk away with even fatter wallets, thanks to tax payers.
we spend billions on oil, oil refineries, oil clean up but are unwilling for the most part to put the same aside to clean alternatives, solar, H20 power (fuel cells), electric fuel hybrid.
If a politician would ever say we are cutting you all off from funding, the oil companies would say sorry to hear that your not going to be president and by the way that 10 million i promised for your campaign is not coming.
And Oh yea Japans gov., still blocks Ford Chrysler & GM from building & selling in Japan...
Don't forget Japans auto makers for decades had RE-FITS in the good old usa NOT recalls just in the past 10 yrs did our gov., make them call it like it tis a recall, remember PLASTIC BRAKE PART FOR THE WORLD @ LARGE (to save $$$) Metal for Japan & lastly I got to retire see if you get too **
Ok im going to post reality for all you people here. If you buy Foreign car you money mostly goes over seas to the country of orgin. If you buy Ford or GM your money mainly stays here in the US. Yes Chrysler is NOT american, Fiat owns them people. Yes, most Fords and GMs are built in Mexico and Canada because of the UNIONS. Yes Unions control alot of Ford and GM. The better choice is Ford right now. Sorry GM your still Government Motors this isnt Russia.
Now for quality. Most companies make a quality product and is designed to last a very long time if properly maintained and driven right. But here is the real reality of it all most of you people dont do either! HA thats right you dont. You drive like crap and you dont know the first thing about proper maintance. Drive to fast, to quick off the line and stop way to fast. Take turns at high speeds and hit every pot hole in the road. Dont even know the last time you even changed the air filter in your vehicle and dont do anything untill the car breaks down and is in the shop. Yes most of you do this and I see it everyday. Hate it? Think about it.
The u.s. is still suffering
guilt feelings cause we made toast out of three of their cities.
I would have dropped the bomb down the crater of fugi.
The day they had this latest quake and big wave, I "bought the house a drink....."
There ain't many of us left, but we still remember what they did to our pow's--our
pilots and crews they caught. have you ever noticed there are many documentaries
on tv about what the germans did to millions of people in ww2, but never a word about
the japanese and that dammed sword ---- that thing is and was a sick fetish...
There is no way my next couple of cars will be electric. It doesn't matter where they are made, they can't get me where I'm going! They run out of charge at about 35 miles if the weather is poor and it is dark. They may go 100 miles under perfect condition, but you can't count on that. I will consider an all electric car when it can take me 400 miles, and be recharged very quickly. And the price needs to be competitive with a gas powered car. I will not sit home waiting for my car to suck up enough of a charge to get me to my next destination. And if you look at EV sales figures, you will see that the rest of the world agrees with me!