The BMW i3 is the German automaker’s answer to the Smart car. The company’s first 100 percent electric vehicle has effectively moved from concept stage to prototype; production is expected to begin sometime this year. BMW claims the battery range will be 100 miles—enough for a driver in a city like New York, but largely inadequate for suburbanites.
One of the more exciting concept cars – at least in terms of an auto that really displays the future of a manufacturer’s big seller – is Toyota’s Corolla Furia. Is what we see the way the next Corolla will look like? Like Honda, Toyota generally doesn’t mess around when it displays concept cars like this, but the company has not said if the radical departure from past design cues seen here is how the next Corolla will look like. But it’s probably a good bet that a lot of these exterior design elements will be represented when the car is ready for the production line. The last time the Corolla was redesigned was in 2008.
Ford has gone pickup crazy at this year’s auto show. Numerous versions of its top-selling F-150 took up a large section of the company’s pavilion. True to its name the Ford Atlas concept truck looks like it could carry (or tow) the planet, and it is probably a good indication of the direction of pickup truck design. These aren’t the kinds of vehicles you could see tossing muddy boots into. The interior of the Atlas is as luxurious as the SUVs that shuttle bank executives around. But anyone under 6 feet tall will have to ascend, rather then enter, these ginormous utility trucks.
Hyundai’s HCD-14 Genesis concept coupe might give hints of the Korean automakers luxury car design direction, but suicide doors? A dashboard that allows you to play digital poker? Hyundai isn’t likely to adopt many of those gimmicks, and how it would completely replace buttons and knobs with motion sensor isn’t certain. What, for example, happens if you toss up a middle finger to the guy who just cut you off? Will the car turn on the A/C?
Nissan displayed one of the weirdest of the concept cars—and one that will not see the production line in its current iteration. It could, however, offer some indication of the future look of Nissan's Murano brand. But one of the more interesting features on the Nissan Resonance hybrid is the side-view cameras that eliminate the mirrors.
The Smart Forstar allows you to pull up to any white wall and watch movies from a hood- mounted projector. The obvious question is: Why? The answer is probably to display other design elements that actually might end up in future iterations of the tiny electric vehicle, such as the plug-in outlet hidden behind a taillight.
The Lincoln MKC Concept is basically a 2013 Ford Escape with new exterior and interior design elements to help try to reinvigorate Ford’s struggling luxury brand, including no door handles.
The Chrysler 300s Turbine probably won‘t be powered by 50-year-old turbine engine technology, and it likely won’t ever be mass produced at all, just like the original Turbine Concept the company showed in 1963. Other than the unique matte copper paint job, it shares nothing with the original. So what’s the purpose? It allows the company to tinker with design concepts that could appear in future vehicles, such as the front fascia and spoiler design.