It’s a mind-bendingly fast supercar: a 2,000-horsepower, shape-changing,
350mph missile. Outrageous? Sure, but cracking the 300mph barrier is inevitable, made possible by new technology and extreme aerodynamics. “Such a car will have to be substantially longer to better control the air flow and high-speed stability,” says Steve Saleen, creator of the racecarlike Saleen S7. As the driving environment changes, the car will morph into different configurations—longer for straight-line driving, shorter for curves—and alter wing shapes to modulate downforce. Driving at 350 mph will be far beyond the skills of most drivers, so active suspension, active steering aids, and collision-avoidance systems—the latter imported from the aircraft industry—will ensure that drivers’ reaction times won’t result in accidents. With such performance and versatility, the car will be a thrill at any speed.
8 steps to 350 MPH
1. Power 2,000hp engine for performance driving, plus a hybrid electric for around town
2. Contact Gel-filled tires made from new composites prevent disintegration at high speeds
3. Control Manual transmission controlled by paddle shifters on steering wheel
4. Stability Active suspension analyzes road ahead and adjusts for ride and downforce
5. Safety Electronic steering and braking aids augment reaction to turns and other vehicles
6. Awareness Sensors detect obstacles in road ahead, displaying graphics on head-up display
7. Adaptation Morphing technology stretches car at top speeds and shortens it for turns
8. Weight Structural composites eliminate need for bracing, minimizing overall weight
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.