By Nauman Farooq
Concept cars are the bread and butter of any auto show. They offer a look into the future, and while not all concept cars make it to production, their technology and design cues certainly do.
However, not all concepts are good, there are bad and crazy ones too, and here is a look at some from the 109th New York International Auto Show (N.Y.I.A.S.).
The Good = Fisker Karma Sunset: We have seen the Fisker Karma Sunset concept before in Detroit. But when something looks as good as this, it deserves another mention. The Karma Sunset will become the second production car from the new Californian company, Fisker Automotive.
The Karma Sunset is a Plug-In Hybrid, which means that it’ll run on just electric power, until the battery is depleted (80 km range). Then if you’re still not home, an onboard gas engine will kick in to take you the rest of the way.
This ingenious drivetrain was developed by Quantum Technologies, who’s President and CEO is a Canadian, Alan Niedzwiecki.
The car looks fantastic and its technology makes lots of sense, and since the Karma sedan is about to enter production in 2010, you can be sure its convertible concept sibling won’t be too far behind. Can’t wait.
The Bad = Barkan Design Counter Balance: From the file titled “What were they thinking?” comes the Counter Balance from Barkan Design.
This new company hopes to turn this vehicle from a concept to reality, but let’s just hope it doesn’t. This you see is a mid-engined pick-up truck. Sounds like a novel idea, but it isn’t. First of all, due to the mid-engine layout (which in this concepts case was a 6.0-lite, Chevrolet V8), the rear passengers sit above the engine, giving them stadium style seating. All very good, until the vehicle gets involved in a roll-over crash, in which case they’ll get squashed like pancakes.
Apart from its obvious safety flaw and the terrible build quality, there is a matter of its design. It looks like it escaped the set of a bad sci-fi film. Even Judge Dredd would dread this.
The Crazy = GM/Segway P.U.M.A.: Easily the craziest concept of the show has to be the P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), which is a joint venture between General Motors and Segway. This is a two-seater, electric, personal mobility pod, meant for short commutes into the city (50 km range), which makes a lot of sense in busy cities like Manhattan, NY.
It uses the same gyroscopic technology found on the Segway Scooter, which means it self balances on its two main wheels. The computer works out the onboard weight and the angle of the surface. In the P.U.M.A. concept, there are extra trolley wheels to help keep it from rolling over, just incase technology lets you down.
Will it ever go into production is hard to say, but it sure is a great idea. Just think of the congestion problems it can solve.
Hope you enjoyed a look at some of the more interesting concepts from this years N.Y.I.A.S. Be sure to check out the rest of our auto show coverage.