Auto shows are great for getting a glimpse into the future of the car market but, unfortunately, the coolest, most imaginative, most innovative concepts and designs often remain on the drawing board. Indeed, the automotive industry is a tough business and there’s only a small segment of the market willing or able to splurge on limited-production ultra-luxury cars. So, here are six futuristic concept cars we wish we could buy right now.
The ultimate litmus test for whether or not you’re living in the future is whether or not there are flying cars zipping through the skies. Well, here’s some good news: We’re getting really close. The TF-X from Terrafugia (pictured) will be a street legal plug-in hybrid car that has collapsible wings, retractable propellers, and is capable of driving and flying on its own in the event of an emergency.
Let’s face it: Electric cars are the future. There will, inevitably, be a time in which fossil fuels are too expensive and precious to waste on grocery store runs. In the meantime, however, super-efficient gas-powered vehicles will be a trend. And this is one trend that can’t catch on soon enough.
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Sure, steampunk has become a popular aesthetic amongst sci-fi aficionados, but could steam-powered cars really play a role in the future of transportation? It’s a long shot, but in a future where efficiency and fuel conservation are primary concerns, odd alternatives like steam could play a role.
Smartphone on Wheels
Increasingly, car companies are working to close the gap between the technology on the road and the technology in our pockets—but they still have a long way to go. Concepts like the Toyota Fun-Vii, however, show a glimmer of that interactive, intelligent, driving future.
Everyone loves the growl of a powerful super car, but we all have to admit that one design does not suit every application. Life in a city, or habitual short-trip driving demands a very different vehicle than, certainly, the race track. This growing use case presents different requirements, though, than even the majority of sedans. Microcars are a smart solution to these real-world problems.
“Look at that bagasse go” could become the ultimate compliment for a sleek car whizzing by, if this green-minded designer has his way.
A Mercedes Benz LX concept made from plant parts was dreamt up by Irfendy Mohamad, a Malaysian student studying at the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden. His sketches call for coupe panels made from aluminum composite and an exterior fashioned from bagasse, the fibrous material that remains from sugarcane once all the juice has been extracted.
“Bagasse, when treated properly, can constitute a rigid, biodegradable structure with practical durability and desirable texture,” Yanko Design’s Akhil Thampuran wrote in a post featuring the design.
As imaginative as it seems, Mohamad’s vision isn’t entirely unrealistic. Ford has been experimenting with natural materials for a while. And at one point the automaker even teamed up with Ecovative Design to explore a biodegradable fungus-based foam. The trick is developing biodegradable parts that perform safely and stay intact until you want them to break down.
In addition to the unusual materials, I also love how the woman standing in front of Mohamad’s coupe looks like she stole Steff’s suit from the movie “Pretty In Pink.” Makes sense, since the concept basically takes our old ideas about luxury and gives them a green heart.
Images: Irfendy Mohamad’s concept for a Mercedes Benz LX made with biodegradable bagasse. Credit: Irfendy Mohamad via Yanko Design.