Designers and entrepreneurs are bringing to life mythic visions of hands-free driving, clean engines that talk to you, and even cars that fly. Our team took a closer look at some of the blue sky thinking that is disrupting the automotive industry.
PIONEER PAVEL BREZINA pulls off the city highway and onto the filling station, taking care not to poke fellow motorists with thelong rotor-blade overhanging the windscreen of his tiny flying car. Along with better-known inventors and entrepreneurs like PayPal founder Elon Musk, he’s one of a growing modern army disrupting the automotive industry from cars and buses to trucks.
Innovation and change has become very serious business around the world across both the transport and the energy sectors, faced with demands from governments and a consumer crescendo to reduce carbon and toxic emissions. Electric vehicles were early over the starting line, although the energy is not necessarily from renewable sources. Charging points are now de rigueur on blueprints for the humblest multi-storey car park and on-street bay. Hydrogen stations are also popping up around the world, albeit serving fuel that often still relies on electricity for its generation.
Corporate imagineers are also creating new visions for the future. Nissan envisages vehicles as energy sub-stations. “Charged by the sun, wind and the oceans, cars could empower people to store, and then distribute renewable energy”. It’s both an opportunity and a headache for power distributors