People always say that you can’t reinvent the wheel, and maybe that’s true. However, from time to time, automakers manage to reinvent their own wheels, by coming up with revolutionary new concepts. There was a time when automobiles looked like roofless, horseless carriages. They had no keys, bumpers, or seatbelts. Had it not been for developments like these, we might all still be driving steam cars. Thankfully, innovative minds stepped up to the plate, and we now have the modern car. Even tech giants like Google, and maybe Apple, are getting into the game. They’ll have some stiff competition, though, because several other manufacturers have come up with incredibly awesome concepts, that could also change the industry forever.
1. Immortus: The Sports Car That Can Run Forever
The Melbourne company EVX set its sights on making self-powering cars a mainstream thing. Its main project is called the Immortus, and it certainly looks like the car of the future. It features fluid design, with small solar tiles spanning from the tip of the hood to the rear bumper, leaving only the windshield uncovered. Between the tiles, free-flowing sunlight, and a lithium battery, its designers feel the car will be able to go forever, powered totally by onboard technology. With just the help of the sun, it can travel up to 50 mph, but the battery enables it to reach as much as 100 mph. Of course, it also looks like an exotic luxury automobile, and has the aerodynamic shape of a sports car. Designers have included all the safety features one would expect, as well as space for two people and luggage. A full-scale prototype should be ready for testing by the end of 2016, and the finished cars will sell for about $370,000. If the price tag is a little too steep for you, EVX is also developing retrofit kits, to enable standard vehicles to run at least partially on electricity.
2. Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile: The Shapeshifting Car
Mercedes-Benz has dropped jaws with its latest development. The Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile (IAA) literally changes shape all by itself, once the car reaches a speed of 50 mph. In its normal form, which the company calls “design mode,” the vehicle looks like a standard sporty BMW, akin to something James Bond might drive. However, stately cars aren’t usually designed for speed, which is why the car switches into “aerodynamic mode,” once the speed threshold is reached. To see it in action is truly superb. While the passenger chamber of the vehicle remains undisturbed, portions of the front bumper and grill move, the spoked wheels become flat discs, and the rear tail extends. The four-door coupe is a hybrid, powered by gas and electricity, and it digitally caps drivers off when they hit 150mph. There’s no word if or when it will hit the production line, nor how much it will cost.
3. Series 7 With Display Key: The Car That’s Smarter Than Your Phone
The BMW Series 7 is wow-worthy, in and of itself, but because it’s a BMW, it has to be immensely progressive to surprise the masses. While it certainly has everything one comes to expect from the brand, BWM upped the ante with what it’s calling a “display key.” Though it fits in the palm of your hand, it operates much like a smartphone with a touchscreen. It will tell you if you’ve left any doors or windows open, if your vehicle needs service, and how many more miles your car will go on the gas you have left. You can also set the alarm, or precondition the car. Perhaps the best feature of them all is that you can use the display key to have the car automatically pull itself out of your garage or from a parking space. The onboard computer system can also be navigated using only hand gestures, rather than pushing buttons. In addition, the back seat features a workstation, called the Executive Lounge, with a tablet that controls various features within the car, including the seat’s massage function. Those who really take to the Executive Lounge may appreciate the ambient modes, which provide light patterns throughout the car, and a choice of air fragrances. It’s pretty sleek on the road, too. Some automated features are included, which will keep the car in the right lane, and help prevent collisions.
Although these are all high-end cars, the new technology is likely to start to carry over into mid-range vehicles in the near future. Of course, by then, these luxury manufacturers will probably have come up with some even more imaginative concepts.
Jason is also a 25-year Canadian rock star and on-air broadcast legend, otherwise known as The Greek SINsation. And host of Canada’s #1-rated The Web Show.