Aside from small cosmetic changes, cars really haven’t changed all that much in the past 60 years, and we’re nowhere near the ultra-futuristic vehicles that previous generations thought we’d have by now. But that might be about to change radically, especially with advances in renewable energy technologies. These 13 low-emissions, energy-efficient car designs represent both amazing visions of the future (perhaps too wild to ever actually be reality) and vehicles that are actually set to hit the roads within a few years.
Solar-Powered Renault Kidma
(images via: auto motto)
While it’s parked, the Renault Kidma charges up its battery using energy from the sun. The blue rings around the exterior of this solar-powered vehicle actually shift to cool down the interior. It’s skinned in a nano-material that can change color according to the riders’ whim, with the touch of a button. The car is guided by a GPS system. Designed by Thomas Felix, the Kidma is super-compact, making it ideal for rental in big cities.
Aiolos Concept Car
(images via: yanko design)
This spherical object is a car. Really. Designer Kyoung Soo Na envisions it for a new, greener Seoul, South Korea, in which buildings equipped with wind turbines produce enough energy to power little pollution-free electric vehicles. And when this one-seater vehicle is being driven, built-in turbines capture additional energy.
Proxima Car-Bike Hybrid
(images via: auto motto)
Sleek and aerodynamic, this little vehicle combines aspects of both cars and bikes to produce a nimble design with two tandem seats. It looks more like a car from the front, with wide-set wheels, but the back end is narrow like a bike, aiding its maneuverability.
Citroen E-3POD Antistatic Commuter
(images via: gizmag)
Conceived as an entry-level electric commuter vehicle for young people and students, the Citroen E-3POD is the result of a challenge project at London’s Royal College of Art. Another car-bike combo, the E-3POD is ultralight, cheap to build and energy-efficient. The rear wheel circles around the body of the vehicle and provides structural support. The small size and lightness of the materials draw less energy from the battery than a more conventional design.
Modi-Corp Pius Kit Car
(images via: pius kitcar)
This one-seater electric vehicle comes in a kit so you can build it yourself – and it’s set to be released in Japan next year. The Modi-Corp Pius is a mere 48 inches wide by 98 inches long and reaches a top speed of just 21 miles per hour, so it’s not exactly street-legal. It appears to be more of a learning project for young people who want to see first-hand how electric vehicles work.