X

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.

skype-headshot
skype-headshot
Chris Paukert
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
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.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos