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The 1996 Ford Synergy concept was loaded with ahead-of-its-time tech

This ultra-aerodynamic, ultra-frugal vision of the future never made it to production, but a lot of its ideas have.

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Chris Paukert

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1996 Ford Synergy concept
1 of 6 Ford

Despite having debuted in 1996, this Ford Synergy concept car still looks ahead of its time.

1996 Ford Synergy concept
2 of 6 Ford

Under this slipstream bodywork was a tiny 1.0-liter diesel engine feeding power to an electric motor. Ford's target? 80 miles per gallon, a heady target even today.

1996 Ford Synergy concept
3 of 6 Ford

The Synergy was designed as part of a US-government-led research coalition, Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). Ford and its rivals General Motors and Chrysler all participated in this race to create an 80-mpg car by 2003.

1996 Ford Synergy concept
4 of 6 Ford

The Synergy's mission statement was to imagine what a family sedan would look like in the year 2010. It's fair to say over a decade later, we're still waiting for this Jetsons-like, knife-edge future of mobility.

1996 Ford Synergy concept
5 of 6 Ford

The Synergy's cabin featured a voice-activated phone book.

1996 Ford Synergy concept
6 of 6 Ford

It's fair to say that the Synergy wasn't likely seriously considered for production at the time it debuted, but a lot of the tech inside has since become commonplace.

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