The Frankfurt Auto show, which ran from September 15 through 25, featured a number of concept cars offered by European manufacturers. Los Angeles car buyers with an eye to the future should be able to find their dream machine among the lineup. I am presenting a sampling, ranging from A (Audi) to V (Volvo).
The eco-conscious Angeleno who can live with a minimalist vehicle might be drawn to the Smart Forvision EV Concept. The two-seater is well-suited to Southern California sunshine. Hexagonal cut-outs in the roof are actually transparent solar panels. They not only admit light to the vehicle’s interior but also generate enough electricity to power its sound system and interior fans. In addition, they double as OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes), which softly illuminate the cabin at night, while consuming half the electricity of traditional light bulbs. In daylight, the Forvision appears to have a glass roof; however, at night it is “pleasantly illuminated.” Smart designers minimized weight in the mini-vehicle via interesting innovations. The doors are made from carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy resin, which is reported to be30% lighter than aluminum. And—get his—the wheels are made of plastic, which makes them seven pounds lighter than conventional wheels; initial tests have confirmed that they have sufficient durability for real-world use. The wheels were developed in partnership with BASF. A BASF foam also overlies a lightweight plastic frame. The foam is covered in what Smart calls e-textiles, which have special heat-conductive materials to help warm occupants more quickly.
Air conditioning saps juice from an electric car’s battery; therefore, Smart and BASF have designed the Forvision’s cabin to reflect as much heat as possible. A special non-metallic, anti-infrared light film applied to all the glass; this feature blocks infrared radiation but allows light and radio waves to pass; thus, allowing use of a cell phone. Insulating foams in the body panels help keep the cabin warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Most of the interior plastics are painted light colors to reflect sunlight; those painted dark colors use special BASF pigments that absorb less heat energy than traditional materials. The steering wheel resembles an airplane yoke; the rim extends only three-quarters of the way around. The copper-frame dashboard has a semi-transparent instrument cluster that is nearly invisible when the car is turned off. The doors have LED lighting and integrated storage pockets. The copper-frame dashboard has a semi-transparent instrument cluster that is nearly invisible when the car is turned off. According to Smart, all the aforementioned innovations could increase the range of an electric car by about 20%.
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Ford Evos Concept: Frankfurt Auto Show dream machine
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Audi Urban Concept: Frankfurt Auto Show dream machine
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