In this month’s Future of the Car issue, we’ve envisioned three ambitious concepts for vehicles of the future, based on insights and other concepts from some of the brightest automotive designers and engineers in the industry. You can see the others here.
A zero-emissions car doesn’t have to sacrifice power or comfort. Advanced structural materials and in-wheel motors will make it possible to build ultralight, frighteningly fast luxury sports cars with seating for four—like a Porsche Panamera for a post-oil world.
Replacing the traditional instrument cluster are semitransparent digital gauges for speed and battery life. Navigation-system guidance is also projected onto the windshield in front of the driver.
The windows and transparent doors are made of aluminum oxynitride, a millimeters-thin ceramic being developed by the military as a bulletproof replacement for vehicle windows and domes.
As with today’s Audi E-tron concepts, four independent electric wheel motors, linked to the steering controls by drive-by-wire technology, reduce weight and supply full torque instantaneously.
A magnesium external frame inspired by dune buggies and racecars provides a high strength-to-weight ratio.
Lithium-ion batteries line the vehicle floor, further freeing up cabin space. A graphene-based ultracapacitor—a device currently being developed in university labs, which uses sheets of carbon only one atom thick to store twice as much electricity as today’s capacitors—offers immediate bursts of power.