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1 Concept Cars That Could Save The World on Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:18 am

We’re all familiar with the nursery rhyme called “This Little Piggy”
right? Does this sound familiar: “This little piggy went to market,
this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this
little piggy had none, this little piggy cried ‘wee wee wee’ all the
way home…” Ok, by now if you’re still reading this you are thinking to
yourself “what the heck does all this have to do with cars?” either
that or you’re thinking “this guy has gone completely mad!” Well you
might be right on both counts as I will soon explain.

The “piggys” going to market in this context are the concept cars
that so many manufacturers dangle like a carrot in front of the viewing
audience to excite our collective car senses, arouse our vivid
mechanical dreams and whet our automotive appetites. These prototypes
are often the only indication consumers have that there’s somebody with
imagination at the wheel of these major, mega, car conglomerates. The
mostly pedestrian selection of mundane motor vehicles seen on the
street today are largely a reflection of the apathy (i.e. mediocrity)
found in our society at large. While mostly functional, modern
automobile design consists of general, uninspired, average and
redundant variations on the same theme, the difference in branding
offering the only variety. Each manufacturer presents something for
everybody to collectively like or dislike…agree or disagree, everyone’s
entitled to their own opinion, Pontiac Aztec owners included. But one
thing that most can collectively agree upon is the detectability of the
often futuristic concept cars. These visions that seem to be lifted
from the pages of a science-fiction novel often end up gracing the
pages of our favorite automobile magazine or automotive blog.

Best case scenario we get to see a working prototype, but most
commonly after we get our collective hopes up in anticipation of a
newer model or our favorite concept car, the reality sets in that our
favorite pending pet project will never see the light of day. Concepts
like a dream get deferred when these projects are abandoned before
production starts, often due to lack of funding or due to designs that
are so radical and so fantastic that there is no conceivable way to
translate the effluent lines and renderings on paper into a tangible
solid reality. Those seldom seen prototypes become extinct like the
1948 Tucker Sedan, the DeLorean, and the Dodo bird. Often we can blame
the analytical corporate suits and bean-counters for their lack of
vision (and their proficiency with a slide rule and cost analysis
software) for nixing many a project coming down the pipeline. Market
volatility and consumer indifference round out the rest of the usual
suspects way-laying development and contributing to why our automotive
wet-dreams never become a reality. Like that cute girl in high school
that you always wanted to date but never worked up the nerve to ask
out, it’s too late, game over, class dismissed, but back to the matter
at hand.

Many of the prototypes and concept cars with the potential to
proactively alter the way we think and relate to not only our cars, but
also the automotive industry as a whole, stall out in some
pre-production phase as auto makers impulsively shift focus in reaction
to increasing government legislation, fickle consumer indifference, to
copy the latest trend, or to jump on the popular band-wagon, as
opposed to setting the bar higher and bucking the trend becoming true
visionaries and trail blazers with a clearly defined vision of what the
future could be, but again, I digress. So without further ado, here is
our list of proto-typical, future-conceptual cars that we feel are
desperately needed today! These car might just save the world…or at
least our sanity and along with it a few barrels of crude oil.

1. Mazda Furai concept car designed and manufactured by Mazda

Status: TBD

Dubbed the “sound of the wind” by designers, the Mazda Furai with
it’s dramatic lines and complex curves sets the tone for what
future-present cars should be. Embodying the idea of flow, or “Nagare”
design as Mazda calls it, the Furai concept car holds fast to Mazda’s
history of incorporating the spirit of “Zoom-Zoom” and the “Emotion of
Motion” in their best selling cars, such as its popular predecessors
the RX-7 and RX-8. These cars that look fast just standing still! The
Mazda Furai concept (pronounced ‘foo-rye’ in Japanese) celebrates the
culmination of over 40 years of Mazda’s research and development in

Why we need this car today:

Mazda partnered with BP oil and the Furai was designed with ethanol
power in mind. The Furai’s three-rotor 450hp mid-mounted wankel engine
uses BP E100 ethanol as it’s fuel of choice. With the increasing
popularity and availability of “green-energy” solutions and the usage
of alternative fuels on the rise, such as E10 and E85 ethanol/gasoline
blends, the Mazda Furai concept would be a welcome addition to the
flex-fuel and green-fuel segment of the market, adding some much needed
excitement to the rather hum-drum assortment of hybrid vehicles
currently offered. Besides, we miss the 3rd gen, FD3S Rx-7′s sexy lines
and curves and the Furai would pick up the slack where the RX-8 fell

2. Toyota FT-HS (HSC) Concept (a.k.a. the new “Supra”) designed by Calty Design Research and manufactured by Toyota


“A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away” there existed a sports
car of mythical proportions and it was called the MKIV 2JZ Toyota
Supra. Ok, so it wasn’t that long ago (for some of us it just feels
that way) or even that far away for that matter…it was in Japan, circa
1997 that the last samurai, I mean last Toyota Supra rolled off the
assembly line…and in the wake of its passing the world let out a
collective sigh of sadness. For more than a decade, die-hard Toyota
Supra loyals have waited…impatiently, but waited just the same, for
Toyota to revive one of the most popular sport compact cars of all
time. In 2007 the Supra faithful received a faint glimmer of hope that
their waiting has not been in vain in the form of the Toyota FT-HS.

Officially named the “Future Toyota-Hybrid Sports” Concept or FT-HS
for short, the designers at Toyota proposed a rear-wheel-drive hybrid
sports car that would output around 400 horsepower. Touted as a “new
kind of sports car for the 21st century” Toyota hopes to combine
“economy and emotion” in a complete sports car package with a
performance aspiration of zero-to-sixty in four seconds and at a price
in the “mid-$30,000 range.” Lofty aspirations indeed for a company
that has been sorely lacking a halo sports car offering since 1997,
when the last Supra model was dropped from the dealership line up, a
decision that Toyota must undoubtedly regret in light of it’s recent
financial worries in the wake of the massive accelerator pedal recall
aka “Pedal-gate”. In a year marked by slow sales and waning consumer
confidence, a new Supra-type car could be the light at the end of the
dismal recall tunnel for Toyota, bolstering sales and helping to offset
some of the negative stigma and stem the tide of customer attrition
that Toyota has garnered of late…at the very least it could serve as a
very pleasant distraction: “hey look over there, is that the new Supra?”

Why we need this car today:

Two words: Toyota Recall. For a new Supra-caliber car we would be
willing to overlook Toyota’s recent gas-pedal gaff and let by-gones be
by-gones…besides, who would ever complain about a sticking accelerator
in a world class sports car? Most true spo-com enthusiasts probably
wouldn’t even notice: “why no officer, I did NOT know I was doing 100
mph, must be this darn Toyota accelerator…” Seriously though, the
Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept is rumored to be powered by a hybrid
powertrain, possibly even a hybrid-electric motor (think: the
love-child of mating a Toyota Prius with a big-block V8). Hey, it
could work…stranger things have happened.

3. Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept/Honda FC Sport Concept
(read: the new NSX) designed by the Acura Design Center and
manufactured by Honda Motor Company


Introduced in the early ’90′s, the NSX (New Sportscar ‘Xperimental’)
prototype was Honda’s first foray into the exotic supercar market. The
NSX was Honda’s technological and performance showcase and the
Pininfarina designed NSX quickly became a fixture among the sport
compact elite as an “affordable” alternative to the traditional staple
of established exotic super cars by brands such as Lamborghini and
Ferrari. Rumor has it that the NSX even inspired F1 designer Gordon
Murray’s McLaren F1 Supercar concept. In 2005 production of the NSX
was discontinued with Honda citing economic issues and their desire to
re-design the then dated and aging platform. Loosely based on Honda’s
formula one efforts, an F1-derived V-10 was originally purported to be
tapped for duty in the new NSX, but amid economic woes and recent
changes in the marketplace, one of Acura’s existing 3.4-liter, V-8
powerplants or even possibly a hybrid/electric motor are considered
more likely candidates. Additionally, Honda has recently released
information on their FC Sport Concept car which threatens to be a “true
no-holds-barred supercar” powered by a “high-torque electric motor”
designed to rival even the greatest of modern sports exotics! The
“FC”in FC Sport is short for “Fuel Cell”, utilizing the same
technology as the FCX-Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle which is an
alternative fuel, zero emissions car. Factor in Acura’s Super Handling
All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) technology and what do you have: The makings
of an ultimate alternative energy exotic super sports car wonder wagon!
Now try saying that three times fast!

Why we need this car today:

Honda/Acura desperately needs to develop a new sports car to
continue the legacy of it’s award-winning NSX supercar. Who better
than Honda, whose slogan is “The Power of Dreams” to translate their
vision for a new, NSX-type concept car into a reality? If Honda Motor
Co. was a kid in your high-school year book, the caption under the
picture would read “Most Likely to Succeed” and true-to-form this
Japanese powerhouse of manufacturing has been going strong for a long
time. With the recent demise of the Honda S2000, it’s high time for
another Honda Halo-car to step up to the plate…can you say “Home Run”?

4. Dodge Zeo Concept designed by Chrysler Group LL (Chrysler Dodge Jeep)

Status: TBD

The Dodge Zeo, short for “Zero Emissions Operations” Concept
vehicle is likely to be the Chrysler Group’s newest crowning
achievement with it’s entry into the increasingly popular hybrid
vehicle market. Labeled by the manufacturer as a “next generation
muscle car” the Zeo electric sports car follows in the footsteps of
the now well-established all-electric exotic Tesla Roadster. Designed
as “four-passenger sport wagon” (think Subaru Forrester, WRX
hatchback, etc.) the Dodge Zeo is a happy concession, seeking the
middle ground between environmentalists and enthusiasts alike.
Reportedly the Zeo’s electric, lithium-ion battery powerplant can last
up to 250 miles before needing recharging and goes from 0-60 miles per
hour in under six seconds.

Why we need this car today:

The fact that this car has an all-electric motor is definitely a
step in the right direction for both Chrysler and those wanting to end
our dependence on fossil fuels; besides it would be fun to hear people
ask “Does That Thing Have A Hemi?”

5. BMW GINA light visionary model concept/BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept designed by BMW Group Design

Status: TBD

The BMW GINA which stands for “Geometry and Functions In ‘N’
Adaptions” is an experiment in abstract thinking that at first glance
is so outside the box it seems to defy logic. The GINA concept with
it’s variable geometry technology can change the shape of the vehicle
surface through a series of manipulations achieved via the textile
fabric skin and metal/carbon fiber supporting sub-structure. Couple
the GINA concept with the BMW Vision concept car and it becomes readily
apparent that someone over at BMW is thinking in the right direction.
Intended as a 2+2-seater with full-hybrid technology, the BMW Vision
concept vehicle would combine the performance of a BMW M series, with a
low emission, fuel efficient engine and would probably outperform even
the most economical internal combustion engines around today. BMW’s
combination of ActiveHybrid components and outstanding aerodynamic
qualities ensure that enjoyment and overall driving experience
increases, even as fuel consumption and emissions decrease. While no
slouch in the power department, the engine provides a maximum speed
governed to just 155 mph, reaching 0 to100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. Average
fuel consumption is a reported 62.6 mpg, and the CO2 emission rating is
99 grams per kilometer or better when driving in “all-electric mode”.

Why we need this car today:

A BMW M-series vehicle with the potential for 62 mpg!!! Enough said, where do we sign up?]

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