Category Archives: Future Cars

Come Ride With Me

Rush-hour streets of New York

Rush-hour streets of New York

 

With fuel prices on the rise and the effects of global warming becoming more apparent each day, many commuters are turning to greener ways of transportation.  In New York, cab sharing is becoming a popular and cost-effective way to get from place to place.  Websites such as RideAmigos.com allows New Yorkers to search for fellow riders with common destinations and arrange to share a ride.  In Washington D.C., a program called SmartBike DC allows commuters to rent bicycles by the hour to efficiently get around the Capitol.  In Paris, a similar bike rental program, called Velib, allows Parisians (and tourists) access to public bicycles, creating an effective alternative for reaching destination points between Metro stations.  Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA takes the concept of rental bicycles one step further by providing “trailer bikes,” bicycles equipped with carts, as an eco-friendly way for shoppers to transport their flat-packed goods back home. These innovative methods of alternative transportation are gradually beginning to take off in many major cities.

Velib bike rental station in Paris

Velib bike rental station in Paris

In New York, a crowded city where traffic congestion and delayed subway trains are a daily nuisance, it would be refreshing to find other (greener) means of transportation. However, a recurring problem is that most urban roads were not designed with cyclists in mind.  The lack of separate bicycle lanes in many cities heightens the risk of accidents for cyclists, and also deters many from considering biking as an alternate form of commute.  This trend for sustainability is still relatively new, and many people are only slowly beginning to adapt to the mindset of a sustainable lifestyle.   Thus, predictably, it will take a while before cities such as New York are able to fully embrace change for a more sustainable society. WU

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Green Racer

With fuel prices on the rise, and governments attempting to curb carbon emissions, it’s no surprise that the auto industry is leaning towards more eco-friendly cars. Recent auto shows revealed a new generation of cars that are more sustainable than ever before. What sets the new breed of hybrid cars apart is that, unlike past concepts, many of these vehicles are more practical and road-ready.

Toyota has introduced a new Prius that draws on solar energy for power, creating an endless source of renewable energy. The energy will power the car’s air conditioning unit, making for a more fuel-efficient ride. Fellow Japanese company, Honda, is not far behind, with a Civic hybrid that utilizes lightweight parts made from biodegradable materials. Leading French automobile company, Peugeot, has also been dedicated to developing sustainable vehicles. Their urban-friendly Citroen C-Cactus prototype debuted last year in Frankfurt, and they’ve recently introduced the 308 RCZ, a fuel-efficient car jointly produced with BMW. The 308 BioFlex represents a new wave of cars that run on eco-conscious biofuel.

What is innovative about these eco-cars is that the designers have more to consider than just performance and aesthetics. They must tap into a specific lifestyle and market where people want smaller, lighter, and more sustainable vehicles. Drivers are increasingly seeking cars that can reduce their environmental impact. As new technologies make way for a dazzling array of possibilities, it won’t be long before “green” cars dominate the roads. WU

BMW Fabric Car

Most automobiles are fabricated in hard plastic, glass and metal, requiring many parts and joints. The team at BMW has rethought this approach and presented a seamless skin concept. The outcome is both ergonomic and beautiful.

Design Futurist believes the best innovation not only makes objects more beautiful, it makes them more functional. General complaints from drivers have little to do with the surface and everything to do with poor durability, vulnerable electrical systems and complicated repairs.

Seamless design can mean more graceful lines, simpler parts, and fluid transitions. We hope BMW, extends this thought process to the internal design of future cars. NATALIA