The top ten future cars | Special reports | guardian co uk

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Mercedes-Benz F500 Mind

The top ten future cars

How will develop in the coming years? will start to use new fuel and new designs as they attempt to two key questions: how can we drive without the planet? And what is the function of the Selected by Julian Rendell, writer and editor

Saturday 13 2004

volvo 3CC.

GM fuel cell

The world’s car company, General Motors, is the advocate for fuel cell and its Hy-Wire is the best vision yet of motoring will be like by In fact, the Hy-Wire — a luxury saloon — the car design manual. Instead of a great petrol engine up the nose, it has a compact electric while inside the 27cm-thick chassis are the futuristic fuel and the three high-pressure hydrogen to feed them with The fuel cell itself of 200 individual stacks and is about the of a PC tower. When the car is running out, it delivers 380 volts of AC to the motor. Because all the gubbins is away under the floor, the has a more spacious cabin a conventional saloon and the driver closer to the front, improving In this experimental model, the uses two twist-grip joysticks to brake and steer, with to the brakes, steering and fuel by electric wires. Hence the Hy(drogen)-Wire. The Hy-Wire is no road though. GM hasn’t revealed figures, but its hefty 1900kg and comparatively weedy 93bhp won’t achieve much than 100mph, and its acceleration be lethargic. Still, this is a working zero-emissions vehicle and a glimpse into the automotive

BMW 760 hydrogen

Expect a hydrogen-fuelled BMW 760 saloon to go on sale within the two to three years. It will be of running on either petrol or — a world first and offer strong performance and It will also consume 20% fuel than the equivalent BMWs (that still to only 24mpg) and reduce C02 by a similar percentage. Hydrogen-burning such as this BMW will be a bridge between today’s economy and tomorrow’s hydrogen because car-makers can modify engines to run on hydrogen — the byproduct of which is water while they iron out the associated with fuel

Focus FCV hybrid fuel

Ford has championed both cell technology and hybrid and its FCV combines both in the same The aim is to increase the driving range fill-ups of hydrogen to up to 200 miles. FCVs are already in operation and says it’ll build a 30 for trials in America and Europe. The source of motive power is a Ballard fuel cell, output is boosted by the electric itself driven by batteries by regenerative braking. The FCV can’t be solely by electric power, so it as mild-hybrid, rather than a By current standards, its performance is and it can only manage a speed of Still it’s a vital and a zero emissions vehicle.


This Japanese might be known for its small in the UK, but back home, Daihatsu is a seller. The Ultra Fuel II is a design study for a lightweight, four-seater, which Daihatsu will be the world’s most car, with an economy of 170mpg (producing carbon emissions of only 40g/km) its petrol hybrid engine an engine that allows the car to between burning petrol in an combustion engine and running on a electric motor. Some of its comes from the lightweight body. But the most important is the 660cc direct-injection petrol electric motor and nickel-metal battery. Ultra fuel indeed.

Dodge Powerbox

Faced taking advantage of the huge of 4x4s in North America, also trying to address the of their atrocious fuel Dodge has come up with engineering study for an economical, 4×4. The Powerbox is powered by a V6 engine running on clean-burning gas, which is mated to a electric motor. Dodge the Powerbox gives same as a vehicle powered by a V8 petrol but with 60% better fuel That means it can go from in seven seconds, reach a top of 120mph and has an economy rate of economy. That may sound but normally these huge are only good for around

Honda Dualnote

Mercedes-Benz F500 Mind

Green are usually styled to look Somehow sexy bodywork and economical engines don’t go Not in the case of the Dualnote. Honda’s sportscar points to a sportier, attractive future for economical power. It even has a mid-mounted the layout chosen for race because of the better balance at speeds. But with a combined of 400bhp from the 3.5-litre V6 engine and electric motor, the still promises 50mpg. The use of extends to handling: to improve stability, the Dualnote can switch two and four-wheel drive. Its performance to be electric, too: 170mphplus and in under five seconds.

Suzuki Mobile Terrace

name, crazy car. In metropolitan Japan, cars are as an extension of people’s homes, and studies such as the Mobile take the link between and car to its extreme. Squeezed into its footprint are six seats in three housed inside a glazed structure that reinforces the analogy. Crucial to this use of space is the hydrogen fuel powerplant, which is based on Motors’ technology. Like the the fuel cell is low down in the with the electric motors the wheels, to create a flat along much of the Mobile 4m length. This car may look but it shows how fuel cell opens up new design avenues.


French car-makers venture into the world of concept cars, which the five-seat Osmose city car unusual. Three seats are set the front of the cabin, behind the engine and its battery pack. To its cleanliness in city driving, can drive on electric power in urban areas. There’s a solar-powered air filter to scrub the air into and expelled from the by the ventilation system, before it to the atmosphere. And the heavily-glazed cabin is to bring the car’s occupants to pedestrians to reflect the interchangeability of the of pedestrians and motorists.

Volvo 3CC Personal Mobility

Electric cars are generally a technical dead-end — have a limited range and are difficult to recharge — but the 3CC embraces electricity. The two-seat 3CC which Volvo describes as a mobility concept — has a slippery aerodynamic body cuts fuel wastage at speed. The lithium-ion batteries are in the sandwich floor and are said to be enough for 180 miles between In city driving regenerative can feed up to 20% of the car’s energy into the batteries. Volvo the steel space-frame chassis has future-proofed to accept a variety of engine types, including diesel or hybrid.

Mercedes-Benz MIND

Mercedes-Benz has been a of environmental research, but its first car alternative power will be its flagship S-Class rather its smallest car, the A-Class. The new hybrid will go on sale mid-2006 with a powerplant on that in the F500 Mind pictured here. The F500 from most hybrids in it has diesel hybrid motive instead of petrol hybrid, a V6 diesel engine mated to the hybrid drive and battery. don’t mate to hybrids well because they are when switched on and off. But a 160bhp diesel engine and economy around 20% better is usual in a luxury saloon, may be a sacrifice owners will be to take.

Mercedes-Benz F500 Mind

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