Top 5 Concept Car Technologies

Concept cars are the Playboy Bunnies of the automotive world. Designers dream up six-wheeled SUVs, exotics sports cars, and Batmobile doppelgangers. Check out five of the wackiest cars you – or your rich neighbor – may be driving in the future.

Multi-Voltaic Car Paint
The Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code might be the only concept car to spark more excitement for its paint job than its hydrogen-powered engine. The Sport Utility Coupe has a thick, silver coat of “multi-voltaic” paint, which reaps electricity from the sunlight and wind. The former tops off the batteries; the latter fuels the hydrogen electrolysis.

DNA-Modified Automobiles
Meet the “ultralight vehicle at one with nature.” The Mercedes-Benz BIOME is a fantasy concept car, never made – only envisioned. Designers imagined that DNA-modified seeds would sprout in a proprietary laboratory and would blossom into wheels, seats and other components. The seeds would produce BioFibre, which would be the frame material. In the BioFibre would be stored BioNectar 4534, a renewable, zero-emission energy source replenished through photosynthesis. Only time will tell if Mercedes’ vision was brilliant or drug-induced.

Glass Hard Carbon Anodes
The company EnerG2 has developed a synthetic “hard carbon” anode to replace the usual lithium-ion graphite anodes. The anode, made from amorphous carbon, boasts 50 percent more energy per surface area than its graphite peer. When equipped with the hard carbon anode, the storage capacity of a lithium-ion battery increases by 30 percent. EnerG2 currently produces the anodes in a $28.5-million factory in Seattle, Washington, paid for in part by a $23 million U.S. Department of Energy stimulus grant.

Nano-Technology Flow Cell Batteries
Acceleration to 60 mph takes 2.8 seconds, and each wheel receives 2,139 pound-feet of torque. Meet the QUANT e-Sportslimousine, a concept supercar without peer, designed and manufactured by nanoFLOWCELL. The Liechtenstein-based startup introduced the QUANT e-Sportslimousine, gullwing doors and all, at the Geneva Motor Show. The two-door sports car uses a one-of-a-kind flow cell battery. It has five times the energy density of a lithium-ion battery and can withstand 10,000 charges without any self-discharge or memory effect. Driving range is 250-373 miles. Farewell, Nissan LEAF.

Piezoelectric Accessory Charging
Jung-Hoon Kim, a South Korean industrial designer, harnessed the power of piezoelectricity in the P-Eco concept car. Piezoelectricity is the property of certain solid materials to accumulate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress. When the P-Eco is started, a handful of “chords” vibrate, generating electricity that tops off the battery. The P-Eco still requires additional electricity, but the piezoelectricity markedly improves energy efficiency.