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The future of cars: 1,000-pound ultraefficients?

Nine car companies entered the annual Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, each tasked with coming up with a sub-1,000-pound car capable of being highly efficient.

This is the design submission for the MAYBACH DRS--"Den-Riki-Sha," a theoretical electric powered rickshaw: </p><p> "Gracing the Roads of Tomorrow. </p><p> "A radically new car culture will arise in the near future, which is aligned with modern architecture, infrastructure and nature. An astonishing variety of future automotive designs will grow, commensurate, with newly available energy sources, drive systems and alternative production methods. Light, transparent designs with sculptured elegance and an extensive range of comfort and safety options are finding their way into a new eco-conscious world. </p><p> "The Maybach DRS embodies these attributes and leverages the traditional values of the classic 'Jin-Riki-Sha' (human powered rickshaw), which originated in Tokyo circa 1870. </p><p> "Breathtaking beauty, ingenious luxury and technical brilliance characterize the sophisticated development of the DRS This Maybach is the first worldwide NMV (Naturally Manufactured Vehicle). Its production process is unique: Per a highly perfected and complex metamorphosis, a readily developed car is born out of a coded DNA-cocoon. Organic intelligence, aligned with advanced bio-mechanical engineering skills, created this special process being designed for a limited number of exclusive vehicles. A futuristic composition of ultra-light construction with a unique luxurious Exterior & Interior expression. </p><p> "Powered by a self-balancing electric drive unit and controlled by an onboard computer that is plugged into a mega city's transport infrastructure, the Maybach DRS delivers a smooth, luxurious journey cross town. To extend its range, this human-electric hybrid allows pedaling power to be supplemented by the driver. Meanwhile, the passengers enjoy the journey in their glamorous surroundings. </p><p> "Maybach traditionally pointed the way to a modern era of luxurious mobility--the Den-Riki-Sha continues this heritage, gracing the roads of tomorrow."
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

LOS ANGELES--As just about everyone knows, the mandate in the auto industry these days is to try to be more green and more efficient.

That's why this year's version of the annual Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge was to come up with a concept for a highly efficient vehicle that is less than 1,000 pounds in total weight.

Nine car companies submitted designs. Here are their entries (click on the following slideshow for full information):