Skateboard Car gives glimpse of the future

In what is a contender for scariest news of the week, scientists are using childrens' skateboards as the inspiration for automobiles of the future

Crave was always under the impression that skateboards were only good for one thing: helping doctors earn a living. But as luck would have it, they're also good inspiration for scientists on their quest to create the elusive car of the future.

That's exactly the inspiration used by boffins at General Motors to create a new concept car called the Skateboard. Think of it as the Lego of the automotive world -- a wheeled platform upon which a virtually limitless array of cabins or body types can be attached. It could allow owners to, in theory, downgrade swap between a sports car and a people carrier quickly and for relatively little cost.

All the hardware required to power Skateboard cars lives inside the base unit. It uses an electrical motor, which takes up far less room than an internal combustion engine, and the steering and propulsion are controlled using drive-by-wire technology -- like you might find on a Boeing jumbo jet. As a result, chassis designers have plenty of flexibility about where they position the seats, boot and other elements.

The best thing about the car is that GM intends to make it emissions-free. Once its crack team of wizards, pixies and scientists figure out how to make a reliable hydrogen fuel cell -- they're notoriously fragile and expensive to build -- we'll be on to a winner.

Watch the video of the Skateboard in action here, and keep your fingers crossed this concept doesn't disappear into the mad scientists' scrap heap. -Rory Reid

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