Every year, the Michelin Design Challenge gives the design community the opportunity to go completely nuts and create vehicles with little, if any, basis in reality. By the look of things, this year was no exception, and we've got a gallery of the 13 weirdest concept cars from the competition.
Spark plugs have been around for a long time — 150 years or so. But vehicles may soon upgrade to a more modern tech for their engine-starting needs: lasers.
You know that big noisy thing at the front of your car? If Protean Electric has its way, all of that stuff is going to get crammed into your wheels, freeing up lots of weight and enough space for a small hot tub (or anything else). It's the future, man!
It's not fast and it's not comfortable, but Canada's Alerion supermileage car trounced the competition at the Shell Eco-marathon, turning in a mind-bending fuel efficiency of 2,500 miles per gallon. That's about ten gallons to drive all the way around the planet at the equator, or about 90 gallons to get from here to the moon.
Now that GM has sold a thousand of their Volt plug-in hybrids, they're starting to get feedback from owners about how the cars are performing in day-to-day use, and here's the number you care about: people get an average of 1,000 miles between fill-ups.
Who knew delicious bananas, pineapples and coconuts could potentially be used to build stronger and lighter cars? A team of Brazilian scientists have figured out a way to use fruit fibers to build extremely strong plastics that are up to four times stronger than petroleum-based plastic.
What do you do if you want to simulate how the sun will look at any time during any point in the year? If you're Ford, you build the Visual Performance Evaluation Lab.
Piston engines are big, heavy, dirty, complicated, and expensive pieces of machinery that have been around for a century. It's about time for something better, and one option could be wave disk engines, which are small, light, clean, simple, and cheap pieces of machinery that aren't around yet. But they're close.
Modern cars are getting more and more computerized, and that's a good thing, since they can now interconnect with all of our mobile devices and the Internet. But this also leaves them more vulnerable to hacking, even by something as simple as playing music on the stereo.
The Chevrolet Volt has a 35 mile all-electric range, which isn't especially high, and a pricetag of $41,000 before tax credits, which is. GM might be thinking about solving one of these problems by making the other one substantially worse.