Dec 12, 2011
We have seen the future, and it is as exciting as it is efficient. The Tokyo Motor Show, which is just concluding its run, is stuffed with electric and hybrid vehicles -- those were expected. What wasn’t expected is how attractive the new cars will be.
Take the Mazda Takeri concept, for example. Its efficiency comes from its SKYACTIV-D (for diesel) powertrain technology, but it also offers the beauty of a modern four-door-coupe configuration. Powered by Mazda’s clean-diesel technology, which achieves compression ignition with the world’s lowest compression ratio, the concept also features auto stop-start, rare for a diesel, and Mazda’s i-ELOOP regenerative braking system. But we couldn’t take our eyes off the “Soul of Motion” design, which Mazda says is its future direction.
Speaking of future direction, Nissan unveiled its Pivo 3, the company’s eighth EV concept, which shows what urban transportation might look like by the end of the decade. Built for singles and couples who spend most of their time in the city, the concept is as much about parking as it is about driving. Using on-board and cloud-based systems, it finds its own spaces, parks itself and recharges from the grid. When you need a lift, just pick up your smartphone and it’ll drive over from its parking space to pick you up. Okay, the design isn’t classically beautiful -- but what it does is.
If the Pivo 3 is a little too out there for you, we think you’ll like the Volkswagen Cross Coupe. VW calls it “the future of SUV design at Volkswagen,” and that means efficiency in the powertrain is combined with efficiency of design. The spare crossover features short overhangs and a low roof, so it looks great. The all-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid offers two electric motors and a direct-injection turbo engine, so we expect it will also drive great.
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