The latest international auto show season revealed a wide array of concept cars for automakers all over the world. Green power trains were big this last season, and most of these cars show off some means of reducing carbon dioxide output.
With the influx of new city cars such as the Honda Fit, Honda's Advanced Design Studio looked beyond current models to come up with a concept for what a future city car would look like. The result? The Personal-Neo Urban Transport, or P-NUT.
With its emphasis on uncompromising sports car performance, BMW hasn't exactly been on the cutting edge of fuel efficient design. But the Vision EfficientDynamics concept shows that the company is taking a hard look on how it can improve efficiency. The concept uses an aerodynamic design and a complex hybrid power train to get 63 mpg, without sacrificing sports car performance.
Citroen created the Survolt concept as a reaction to the typical electric cars currently in the pipeline toward production. Where those cars actively eschew style, the Survolt gathers it up and flaunts it. Where electric cars serve as transportation appliances, the Survolt delivers sports car looks, or possibly a bad hallucination.
Audi showed off different versions of the e-tron electric concept during the auto show season, but this one was the first. The e-tron's four traction motors deliver enough power to get the car to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, and run for a range of 154 miles. The motors deliver a combined 313 horsepower, and an astounding 3,319 pound-feet of torque.
The Ford Start is a new urban vehicle that's powered by a three-cylinder 1-liter engine using Ford's EcoBoost turbo technology. Ford claims this tiny engine would deliver the power of a larger displacement four-cylinder engine. The LCD in the cabin shows an iPhonelike interface.
The BB1 uses two in-wheel electric motors for propulsion, but more interestingly, this 8-foot-long city car seats four. The BB1 has a smartphone port, fully integrating apps on the car's dashboard. Peugeot has been showing off the car in Europe, driving it in cities such as Berlin, London, and Paris.
GMC refers to the Granite as an urban utility vehicle, a car young professionals can hit clubs in on weekday evenings, then load up with mountain bikes and surfboards on the weekends. It is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The ix-metro is a city car concept, intended to have a 1-liter gas engine coupled to a hybrid system. The short wheelbase and high stance suggest a practical interior. The latch placement suggests that the doors open suicide-style.
The i-flow explores some interesting power train technology. Hyundai specifies a two-stage turbocharger on a 1.7-liter diesel engine, complemented by an electric drive motor, achieving 78 mpg. An interesting new technology uses the heat from the exhaust to generate additional electricity, up to 250 watts when the concept is traveling 50 mph.
Toyota showed off the new hatchback hybrid concept at the Detroit auto show in January, then came out with the Lexus CT-200h at the Geneva show in March. The CT-200h has similar lines as the concept, making it the fastest move from concept to production car we've ever seen.
The Up Lite is powered by a 0.8-liter turbo-diesel two-cylinder engine that shares motivational duties with a 10kW electric motor for a total of about 64 horsepower. Putting power to the front wheels is a seven-speed DSG transmission.
Citroen's small car concept is intended to be powered by a hybrid drivetrain. Past Citroen hybrid concepts have used a gas engine on one set of wheels and an electric motor on the other. This concept looks a little small for that type of architecture.
Mini showed off a concept even smaller than its current Cooper at the Frankfurt auto show. Unlike the current Mini Cooper convertible, the Roadster's top is manual, but shouldn't require much effort to raise and lower.
Peugeot says the SR1 telegraphs new design style for the company's cars. The SR1 is meant to modernize the grand tourer, working as a sporty car for weekend getaways. Peugeot notes that its traditional lion badge was redesigned for this concept, and will be used going forward in new production cars.
The Shooting Break Concept was unveiled at Auto China 2010. The name, which means the same thing as shooting brake, comes from the term for a wagon used to break horses, then later used as a hunting wagon. This concept uses a new engine from Mercedes-Benz, a direct injection 3.5-liter V-6 making 306 horsepower.
The Lotus Evora, the biggest car in Lotus' current lineup, serves as the platform for this hybrid concept. Lotus calls it the 414E Hybrid, the number signifying the metric horsepower of the car--that equals 404 horsepower. The purpose of the concept is to demonstrate Lotus' hybrid technology.
Porsche demonstrated its commitment to hybrid technology with the 918 Spyder concept, a car that boasts outlandish specifications. The two-seater uses a plug-in hybrid system composed of two electric motors coupled to a 3.4-liter V-8 racing engine. The car is capable of going 16 miles under electric power alone, and Porsche claims fuel economy of 78 mpg, but it also gets to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds