We've been taking a closer look at some of the standout blue-sky concepts presented by the likes of Mercedes
at the recent LA Design Challenge
– here's Volvo's take on the lightweight car of the future. The clamshell-inspired Volvo Air Motion Concept Canyon Carver uses fewer and lighter components than in traditional cars and compressed air engines
to achieve a weight estimated at under 1000 lbs (454 kg).
Get ready to have your concept of how a car is manufactured flipped upside-down and turned inside-out. Picture a production process that has plenty in common with agar jelly
(used to culture organic materials in laboratories) and little in common with what we would normally think of as production-line automotive manufacturing. You are starting to get close to what the people at Mercedes-Benz have spawned with the BIOME – one of the most outlandish and ambitious concepts in this year's Los Angeles Design Challenge
The 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show
Design Challenge – which asked designers to come up with an efficient 1,000lb (454kg), four-passenger vehicle that maintained comfort, safety, driving-performance and style – has finished in a tie between GM’s Cadillac Aera concept and the Smart 454 from Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design. Previously, the Design Challenge was restricted to major Southern California automotive design studios but this year
saw the field widen to include studios from Germany and Japan, resulting in entries from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Maybach.
When Toyota and Tesla announced a partnership
earlier this year one of the stated aims was to collaborate on an electric version of the RAV4
– here it is. Unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show
, the RAV4 EV Demonstration Vehicle is based on the current combustion engine model with modifications to the suspension and steering plus minor styling changes like a new front bumper, grille and head lamps and of course – the inclusion of an electric powertrain and Tesla supplied battery pack. Toyota points out that there are many decisions yet to be made before the final specs of the RAV4 EV – which is slated to go into production in 2012 – are finalized.
Honda slipped two more pieces of the Honda Electric Mobility Network into place at the LA Auto Show
yesterday, revealing a Fit EV Concept and details of the plug-in hybrid platform, both of which forecast vehicles that will hit showrooms in 2012. The Fit EV and plug-in platform are impressive, but the evolution of Honda's Electric Mobility Network is looking increasingly like a killer proposition for consumers.
If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel of your car, then having a properly adjusted seat is of the utmost importance – not only does it maximize safety and driving skills, but it also minimizes back, shoulder and neck strain. With over a dozen adjustments available on some vehicles’ seats, however, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out the optimum combination of settings. Automotive parts designer Faurecia has what it is toting as the solution to this problem, in the form of its new smartphone-based SmartFit system.
It's understandable that U.S. auto makers are nervous about the prospect of having to sell luxury cars that are diminutive in size, as public perception has not yet caught up with the reality of urban congestion and the energy crisis. It's even more of a problem when your name is Cadillac, a brand that is synonymous with acres of bonnet, aircraft-sized motors and enough interior room for an entourage. So it's not surprising that Cadillac's Urban Luxury Concept is a technological tour de force, with every creature comfort imaginable, or that the press release reads like an apology.
The sales of traditional sedans have taken a hit in recent years due to the popularity of crossover SUVs, but that hasn’t stopped Nissan coming up with a new sedan concept in the form of the Nissan Ellure Concept hybrid vehicle. The company says the car, which will debut at the 2010 LA Auto Show, isn’t intended as a preview of any upcoming production model, but is rather a confirmation that the sedan still has some life left in it yet and will remain a core part of Nissan’s product portfolio.
Nissan will show a new car at the Los Angeles Motor Show later this week, which takes unique attributes from at least three different segments to create a vehicle seemingly purpose built for Southern California. Set to go on sale in early 2011, the Murano CrossCabriolet 2011 is an all-wheel drive crossover convertible which Nissan says has plenty of room for four adults, plus enough space for golf bags and luggage, even with the top down.