Concept cars generally have one of two jobs to fulfill. They’re either used to preview a soon-to-be-reality production car. Or they’re something completely bonkers designed to grab headlines and get people thinking. Many concept cars, especially nowadays, are fitted – or theoretically fitted – with unconventional drivetrains. Electric-powered and Hybrid-powered vehicles now make up a significant proportion of the annual concept car yield. Just ten years ago they might have been unusual. Today they’re normal. To make it into this top ten list the concept cars have to have remarkably unusual propulsion units or drivetrain elements.
The styling and exterior design of the TH!NK FROST was created to suit arctic conditions. The unusual asymmetrical bodywork was influenced by ice formations, and it features numerous purpose-made ‘cracks’ which hide the lighting systems.
The layout of the FROST concept mixes the proportions and 2-seat platform of a sports car with the rugged capability of an off-road vehicle. The electric drivetrain of the concept features AWD, all-wheel-steering, fully independent suspension and hydraulic wheel extenders for increasing the track. Not to mention the radical tracks instead of conventional wheels which should offer superior traction when driving on snow, ice and slush. TH!INK FROST
The KTM Quake concept features not only a striking asymmetric body and multi-component wheels, it also has an extraordinary propulsion system which uses the principle of piezoelectric. Piezoelectricity describes the ability of some materials (notably crystals like quartz and certain ceramics) to generate an electric current when compressed. Currently Piezoelectricity is used commonly in items like piezo lighters, and starters for gas-fired barbecues etc.
While there would be considerable hurdles in getting the technology upscaled enough to power a car, it’s a novel idea and worthy of this Top 10 list. KTM Quake
Renault Espace F1
Underneath the custom made carbon fiber bodywork was a modified Williams F1 car chassis. Housed in the center of the vehicle was a Renault RS5 40-valve V10 engine which was upgraded to produce 800 hp – 100 hp more than the race car produced! Renault Espace F1
GYM Concept Car
The GYM Concept comprises of a single-seat cockpit surrounded by a lightweight injection molded magnesium alloy chassis and built in exercise machines. Covering the chassis is a minimal amount of carbon fibre bodywork, giving the car a purposeful appearance – which was in part inspired by WWII fighter aircraft. GYM Concept Car
GM Car Hero
The ‘Car Hero’ was General Motors entry for the 2009 Design Challenge held by the LA Auto Show. For 2009 the competitors were asked to design a vehicle for 2030 which would appeal to generation Z – a group brought up with gaming consoles, cell phones and other mobile gadgetry. GM Car Hero
Audi Makaon Speed Sailor
In this future, the effects of global warming have meant that vehicle manufacturers have had to look to a variety of alternative and renewable energy sources. One way in which companies can show off their green credentials is to support and sponsor racing series in which the vehicles are powered by natural energy sources like wind and the sun. Audi decides to provide support for a land-sailing race series – and the Makaon SpeedSailor is the result. Audi Makaon Speed Sailor
Transformation to a speed boat involves deploying a propeller at the rear, the large rear spoiler rolls under the car becoming the rear hydrofoil, and two hydrofoils integrated into the left and right sides of the splash swing down to form the front hydrofoils. Rinspeed Splash
The Honda Air is a vision of the future of lightweight and alternative fuel performance vehicles. Inspired by roller coasters as well as skydiving wing-suits, the Honda Air is powered by a compressed air and pneumatic regulator system. It utilizes turbo vacuums and external air-flow to regenerate tank pressure for extended range and increased boost for an estimated 100 miles. The chassis doubles as the master tank and all components, including seating, are mounted to the central chassis/tank to eliminate redundant structure and reduce overall weight. Honda Air
Okay so it’s just an electric powered concept car. Well yes. But it’s also an electric powered concept car with its own built-in solar array and wind turbine. But just in case its a wind-less, overcast day you can still plug it in at home! Venturi Eclectic
Valmet Dawn EV
The Valmet Dawn EV concept is a single seater, with the driver sitting on the far-left of the vehicle. The huge battery pack takes up the center of the car, while the electric motor can be seen poking through the bodywork at the rear. That weird little blue swirly thing at the front of the car is supposed to be a wireless induction charging system. This would allow the car to recharge its batteries while moving by absorbing energy from high-powered electric cables mounted under the road surface. Valmet Dawn EV