There’s no shortage of imagination in the world of electric vehicle design, as proven by these unbelievably bizarre and creative examples of forward-thinking automobiles. Worried about getting around after a nuclear holocaust? Suzuki’s got you covered. Hate driving in reverse? The Pivo 2 has a cabin that rotates 360 degrees. Here’s a look into the strange future of innovative and strange electric vehicles.
Tang Hua Chinese Electric Vehicles
(images via: AutoBlog)
Chinese company Tang Hua debuted a trio of electric vehicles that look like Dr. Suess illustrations come to life, or a new spin on the Oscar Meyer Weiner-mobile. Humorously, a label on one of the cars suggests that perhaps in the yellow submarine-like vehicle’s future is “renowned environmentalists – President Bush, ordering this car for his Texas ranch.”
Suzuki PIXY + SCC
Ever wonder how you’ll get around in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? Never fear – Suzuki has created a vehicle system that allows you to get around without ever coming into contact with toxic, heavily polluted air. It’s a sort of worst-case-scenario insurance plan, assuming that serious environmental damage will require us all to get around in single-passenger vehicles. A rolling transporter – the ‘Suzuki Shared Coach’, or SSC – can carry up to two ‘PIXY’ 3-wheeled pods which are fully enclosed.
(images via: The Cool Hunter)
2006 saw the debut of the Zoop Car, an electric vehicle designed by – strangely enough – a fashion house. Paris-based Maison de Courrèges, who got their start in the fashion world working for legendary design house Balenciaga, gave the rather unusual Zoop a bubble-like orange dome and a low profile. Three people can fit inside, and it’ll go up to 120 mph.
Hyperion Concept Car
(images via: EcoFriend)
The Hyperion Concept Car, designed by Marco Aurelio Galán Henríquez, is powered by lithium ion batteries and will be made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, for safety without the weight. Exceedingly futuristic-looking, the lightweight body of the Hyperion allows the electric engines to propel the vehicle up to 200 km/hour.
Tesla’s Electric Pink Bunny Slippers
(images via: Tesla Motors Blog)
They hardly resemble the Tesla Roadster, but believe it or not, that iconic electric car has something in common with these pink bunny slipper vehicles: they’re all designed by Tesla engineers. Greg Solberg made them for use at the Burning Man festival. The 7.5 feet slippers can go about 15mph with a frame made of welded steel and plywood. And he didn’t stop at slippers – he made electric cupcakes, too.
KAZ Eliica 8-Wheel Electric Car
(images via: AutoBlog)
The design of the Keio Advanced Zero-Emmision Vehicle (KAZ) Eliica is pretty polarizing, with as many people holding their noses as praising its familiar-yet-strange looks. The Eliica has four axles with eight wheels and reaches up to 230 mph. It takes 10 hours to charge, travels 125 miles on a single charge and can accelerate to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds. The wheels house motors, so the four extras help it reach those extreme speeds, and the car’s seemingly excessive length is necessary to host the batteries, which cover almost the entire floor area.
Bamgoo, Electric Car Made of Bamboo
(images via: Japan Probe)
Leave it to Japan to come up with one of the wackiest, most eco-centric electric vehicles ever imagined. Not only does it run on electricity, it’s made of bamboo, a renewable resource. Developed by Kyoto City and Kyoto University, this wicker basket-looking vehicle (which weighs just 130 pounds!) runs about 30 miles per charge.
Ecooter Electric Car/Scooter
(images via: hao520)
The Ecooter is a Chinese electric vehicle that seems to be a sort of enclosed scooter, created for neighborhood driving in urban cities. This EV does have four wheels (they’re mounted in a diamond pattern) and can be maneuvered into incredibly tight parking spots. Its 60-mile range is the only statistic known, but Jalopnik for one seems to think it’s a viable concept.
Nissan Pivo 2
(images via: Nissan)
The ridiculously cute Nissan Pivo 2 eliminates the need for reverse entirely, with a rotating cabin that swivels 360 degrees. In-wheel motors can propel it in any direction, including sideways. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007, the Pivo 2 even has a ‘Robotic Agent’, allowing the driver to communicate with the car about everything from basic vehicle functions to the nearest available parking spaces.
Airflow by Pierre Sabas
(images via: TechPin)
When the Royal College of Art held its annual Vehicle Design Masters program show in 2008, there were a lot of incredible designs to be seen, but none shone quite so much as the Airflow by Pierre Sabas. This electric concept car will feature an exterior made of glass and ultra-lightweight materials. Sabas said he wanted the glass to wrap around the car “like fabric”, to allow occupants a 360-degree view of the outside world.
Aptera Typ-1 Electric Three-Wheeler
(images via: Aptera)
Carlsbad, California residents must have gotten quite a shock when a drivable prototype of the Aptera Typ-1 hit the roads in 2007. The electric version of the Typ-1 has a 125-mile range while the gasoline version gets up to 300 mpg. Both models are nearly production-ready and will cost around $30,000. A third, more conventional-looking model with a four-wheeled chassis and seating for up to 5 passengers is in the works.
Lumeneo Smera Super-Narrow Electric Car
(images via: Jalopnik)
Tucked into a lightly-trafficked corner of the 2008 Geneva Auto Show was the Lumeneo Smera, an extremely narrow electric vehicle that, amazingly enough, manages to fit two people inside. It’s so small, it fits into the same footprint as many of the scooters used throughout Europe. It’s capable of 80 mph and has a range of 93 miles, and leans into turns like a motorcycle. Planned production for 2009 is 250 units.
‘Dream Car 123’ Prototype Solar Electric Car
(images via: DreamCar123.com)
No, this vehicle is not a prop from a 1930’s futuristic film set. As strange as it looks, the pyramid-shaped ‘Dream Car 123’ does actually work and gets a 240-mile range on a single 3.5 hour charge for about $5 worth of electricity. The pet project of inventor Greg Zanis, who calls it a ‘one-person safety vehicle’, the ironically named ‘Dream Car’ has bulletproof glass and cost about $8,000 in materials – a big improvement from an older prototype’s staggering $60,000.
UnoCycle Electric Gyroscopic Bike
(images via: UnoCycle)
Popular Science magazine named the UnoCycle the Invention of the Year, and it has also received several ‘best engineering’ and ‘best in category’ awards at motorcycle shows. Created by 18-year-old Ben Gulak, who was inspired to build it after visiting smog-plagued China, this gyroscopic two-wheeled motor bike is light enough to be taken indoors to charge and runs for 2.5 hours. The rider leans forward to accelerate to speeds up to 25mph, and leans backward to slow down.
(images via: Serious Wheels)
Portuguese designer André Costa won the Peugeot Design Competition with the ‘Moovie’, an extremely agile electric car that looks about as futuristic as any vehicle design we’ve ever seen. A scale 1 concept version of the Moovie was built for the Frankfurt Motor Show and though it’s non-operational, it’s an impressive look into what we might be driving in the decades to come.