What happens when you let Scandinavians design a convertible? Well, for one, you end up with the very successful Saab 900 convertible, which launched in 1985. Saab has taken another shot at it with the 9-X Air, a concept vehicle unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show that uses a unique convertible soft top, plus quite a few other good concept car touches.
After much badgering by DIYers and energy activists, Toyota relented and built a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid, showing it off at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Noting that the Prius' hybrid system let it run on electricity only during low speed driving, a few DIYers hacked their Priuses to run longer and at higher speeds on electricity, keeping the batteries charged by plugging them in overnight and achieving over 100 mpg in some cases. For a long time, Toyota refused to acknowledge the benefits of plugging in, but now has seen the light, sort of.
The plug-in Prius … Read more
Suzuki showed off a couple of hydrogen-powered vehicles at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. One was based on the relatively new SX-4 model, and the other, in good Suzuki style, was a motorcycle concept called the Crosscage. Both vehicles use electric motors to drive their wheels, and fuel cells combining hydrogen and oxygen to generate the electricity to run those motors. Suzuki has previously built three fuel cell vehicles based on different models.
The base SX-4 is a small, all-wheel-drive car with an economical engine. As the current Suzuki FCV, it gets a 68 kilowatt motor which most likely only … Read more
Although it may be a five-door hatchback, like Toyota's Prius, the Honda Insight concept, unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, probably won't significantly displace the Prius. This concept, set to unveil as a production vehicle at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and go on sale in the first half of 2009, uses Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system and, as such, is considered a mild hybrid, because it doesn't drive the car under electric power only. IMA integrates a small electric motor with the transmission, which provides extra boost when the car is accelerating, … Read more
Lamborghini owners must be aging, because the company just unveiled a concept four door at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. However, the Lamborghini Estate Estoque doesn't come with wood panels, instead showing design cues reminiscent of the Reventon, the limited production model unveiled at last year's Frankfurt auto show. This design language--using sharpened lines, black mesh air intakes, and LED exterior lights--looks to be the new direction for Lamborghini as it considers adding a third model to the existing Gallardo and Murcielago line-up.
Although, according to Lamborghini's news release, the Estoque could be used to take the … Read more
We're not sure if "Evo" will be in the model name, but Mitsubishi released photos and specifications for its rally car of the future--2025 to be exact. Today, Mitsubishi is calling this concept the MMR25. It's an electric car, because there's no gas in 2025, and uses four in-wheel motors, plus eight supplemental motors for each wheel.
The details released don't make it clear how the eight extra motors work, but they apparently have something to do with the car being able to drive sideways, as the wheels can turn in any direction. According … Read more
Where other car companies build concepts with futuristic shapes that have to be towed onto the show floor, Maserati's new GranTurismo MC concept is built for speed. Maserati racing engineers have taken the GranTurismo S model and added various aerodynamic and ventilation touches to the bodywork without spoiling the fine Pininfarina styling. Maserati places air intakes on the hood and around the grille, and, at the same time, put vents behind the front wheels and at the rear of the car. The front and rear fenders are resized to accommodate a wider front track and the rear vents. Maserati … Read more
TOYOTA CITY, Japan -- For a taste of future fuel-efficient styling from Toyota, go no further than the FT-HS hybrid sports car. It is counterintuitive, high-tech, and unconventional.
But global design chief Wahei Hirai says the FT-HS will form the foundation for all future styling as Toyota Motor Corp. tries to squeeze every mile from a gallon of gasoline.
The angular, low-slung FT-HS is just a concept. But its design elements already are incorporated into Toyota's iQ minicar, which will be on the streets in Japan and Europe in five months.
The new styling also will surface in upcoming hybrids, where green-conscious customers appreciate avant-garde looks.
From a design point of view, the goal is to make air-slicing cars even more slippery.
"Aerodynamics have always been important, but today they are getting more and more important," Hirai says. "We are paying very serious attention to very small details."… Read more
Chrysler surprised everyone with the announcement of three electric vehicle concepts. The company showed working versions of the all-electric Dodge EV sports car, plus a range-extended Chrysler minivan and Jeep Wrangler. The two range-extended models use powertrains similar to that found in the Chevy Volt, an electric motor and batteries to run the car, and an onboard gas engine generating electricity to extend the range.
Having had success with the Malibu, Chevy reaches towards the East Coast to try its luck with Orlando. This new concept car, which incorporates design language seen in the Malibu and the production version of the Volt, will be shown at the Paris Motor Show. The Orlando is based on the same platform as the new compact Chevy Cruze, which also debuts in Paris, and shows the flexibility of that platform for small and large cars. Although GM doesn't use the term in its press release, the Orlando concept fits the crossover segment. The closest thing Chevy has previously … Read more