Conceptualising The Future
Auto shows are some of the most anticipated events of the year for automobile enthusiasts, since it is the time of the year when we can openly embrace our love of cars and gawk at the latest developments that have the potential of shaping the future of the industry. Car companies plan their whole year’s R&D and marketing efforts around these events and the reveals that will help them make their mark on these grand stages. With the recent shift in the public consciousness towards EVs and the restrictions placed by the latest emission norms, automobile manufacturers are in more pressure than ever to showcase that they can leave the past behind and deliver a better future. Which is why it was no surprise that the Shanghai Auto Show this year was filled with concept cars that aim to become the leading EV of choice in their respective segments.
Since almost all companies are in the process of establishing their EV portfolios, we were spoilt for choice. But for now, we have decided to focus on four different concept cars. Each represent something new in their own individual segment. All together, they represent a very different future than the one we grew up with.
THE RACE CAR
Even though its rival Mercedes has been dominating the Formula 1 scene for quite some time now, BMW has not given up on its racing ambitions, choosing to focus instead on Formula E racing. Towards this end, the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team have created a brand new electric Formula 1 car, the iFE.18. This race car features their prototype Racing eDrive01 powertrain that has been specially developed for this purpose by top BMW engineers, along with a completely redesigned rear including the rear axle structure and the suspension. The exact performance specs are a closely guarded secret, however, since the car has already proven itself worthy at the Ad Diriyah ePrix, we can easily assume that it leads the competition and is the one to keep an eye on.
THE SPORTS CAR
The K50 looks like most sports cars from the Asian subcontinent, but beneath the predictable exterior is a super lightweight two-door sports car made entirely from aluminium and carbon fibre body panels. This choice has drastically reduced the weight of the car down to an unbelievable 281kgs. Powering this slim and light physique are two electric motors, one mounted on each axle to enable all-wheel drive with option for multiple power delivery configurations. These motors are expected to produce a combined output of around 280kW, or 375bhp, which is more than enough to push this car form 0-100 in just 4.6 seconds. The top speed has been limited to 200kmph to ensure public and personal safety. Even though this may not sound enough on paper, it will still feel more than enough when you get behind the wheel and realise the insane power to weight ratio enabled by this kind of setup. With an estimated average range of around 370 kilometres, you don’t even have to compromise between reliability and performance, making this a perfect example of a responsible yet fun sports car of the future.
THE LUXURY LIMO
Limos haven’t really evolved with times, and the Renault EZ-ULTIMO expects to change this by becoming the first of its kind, luxury autonomous limo. It becomes clear just by looking at it, since the design is clearly focused on maximising the passenger experience. A great example of this focus are the over 600 diamond-shaped facets that replace the traditional windows and act as a state-of-the-art one-way mirror. Since the vehicle is supposed to be100 per cent autonomous at all times, the interior leaves little to no room for a driver and instead uses the extra space to create a modular structure that can be transformed into your own personal lounge complete with custom sofa seats and wooden flooring or even a fully functional bar if that’s your idea of a dream commute. With such an open platform, the possibilities are endless and offer a tantalising look into the future of personal transport.
THE HYPER CAR
The first interesting thing about the Arcfox GT is that it was clearly designed to be the electric kryptonite for hyper cars with large displacement engines, like the Bugatti Chiron, that have ruled the segment since its creation. The second interesting thing is that the company trying to accomplish this goal is the BAIC Group, which is a well known branch of the Chinese government, which makes this perhaps the only government sponsored hyper car in existence. To live up to the hype, the Arcfox GT utilises four electric motors that generate a combined output of around 1,005bhp or 750 kW. This ridiculous amount of power, combined with the instant acceleration that is characteristic of EVs help push this car from 0-100 in just 2.59 seconds. You can even push it further with the Track Edition, which is said to feature the latest Formula E technologies that help push it up to an astounding 1,609bhp or 1,200 kW. Even with this enhanced performance, the batteries are enough to sustain an average charge of around 400kms, making it one of the rare hyper cars that won’t eat up your wealth in fuel costs alone.