The all-electric E-Legend is a modern reinterpretation of the company’s 1969 504 coupe. But slip it into Autonomous mode and the steering wheel retracts under the speaker bar, giving the driver an unobstructed view of a 49-in. display screen. (The car carries 16 display screens of various sizes). The front seats also recline and the side armrests come out, revealing a large storage area and an induction charging station for smartphones. A 455 hp motor sends power to all four wheels, letting it go from 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in under four seconds and giving it a top speed of 136 mph. A fully charged 100 kWh battery gives the car a 370-mile range; a fast recharger will let it go another 310 miles after a 25-minute recharging.
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow
The 17.3-ft long EQ Silver Arrow is pure car-show-bait. There’s little chance anyone will ever see this single-seat car on the street. The car’s design is an homage to the 1937 W 125 Mercedes-Benz, which is said to have set a speed record on the Frankfurt-to-Darmstadt A5 autobahn of nearly 269 mph. This carbon-fiber version is powered by a 738-hp electric motor coupled to an 80-kWh battery for a 250-mile range. Its top speed isn’t known, but it does have a pair of rear spoilers that slow down the car when extended.
Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo
This new all-electric four-door, four-seat station wagon from Porsche, the Mission E Cross Turismo, might go into production around 2020. The all-wheel drive vehicle will have motors on the front and rear axles and an 800-V electrical system to deliver 600 hp and 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) times under 3.5 seconds. Range is an estimated 310 miles. And when the battery is dead, a 15-minute recharge adds about 250 more miles. The lithium-ion battery provides more than just electricity. It mounts into the underbody to lower the car’s center of gravity and balance the weight distribution.
VW I.D. Vizzion
The all-electric I.D. Vizzion from Volkswagen carries front (101 hp) and rear (201 hp) motors. It also a Level % autonomous car, which means it doesn’t need a driver. That’s good, because the car lacks a steering wheel; it also has almost no controls other than two buttons. It will, however, take voice and gestured commands. There aren’t any dials or readouts either, unless you’re wearing a pair of Microsoft Hololens glasses. The high-tech headlights project 8,000 pixels and dim or adjust themselves to accommodate pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. The car is rumored to be going into production sometime between 2020 and 2022, but it’s doubtful the public will be able to use Level 5 vehicles that soon.
Hyundai Le Fil Rouge
The new concept car from Hyundai, Le Fil Rouge, (or red thread) is more a styling exercise than an engineering one. The name implies that the same aesthetic present in the sleek and sporty Le Fil Rouge will be mirrored in many future Hyundais.
Volvo 360 c
Volvo’s concept car, the 360 c SUV, paints more of picture of the future of cars in general than of upcoming Volvo models. Volvo images the all-electric, autonomous 360c as a mobile office, living room, entertainment space, and sleeping environment. It’s also a rolling endorsement/proposal for global standards on how cars and trucks will communicate safely and reliably with each other on the road.
Volvo 360c (Interior)
It’s still a good way’s off, but Volvo’s 360c is being put forth as an alternative to short-haul airline/train trips. Just get into the roomy cabin the night before, set the destination, deploy the sleeping bed, then read a book before sacking out. Volvo even includes a special blanket with the bed. It serves as a three-point safety belt but also works on passengers who are lying down. Wake up outside your first appointment rested and refreshed (though, you will look like you just rolled out of bed).
Audi PB18 E-Tron GT
The PB18 E-Tron is a high-tech throwback. It uses the most advanced technology but is built for drivers who want the highest caliber hands-on performance. Its working title at Audi was “Level Zero,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Level 3, 4, and 5 cars being developed by the German car company. The driver’s seat and cockpit are built into sliding monocoque shell. The seat can be slid to the center, the ideal spot for driving on racetracks, or slide to the side to make room for a passenger. It helps that the steering wheel and pedal use by-wire design; there are no mechanical connections for any of them.
The concept supercar uses three electric motors—a 201-hp (150 kW) one up front and two 234 hp (175 hp) in the rear. Max output is 500 kW, but with boosting the driver can temporarily harness 724 hp. Torque is 612 ft-lb.; the car also has 16.6 ft3 of cargo space. In an engineering nod to efficiency, the PB18 uses the rear motors for regenerative breaking for everything up to moderate braking and is said to recover “large amounts of energy.” Hydraulic brakes only come into play during heavy braking.
This all-electric concept vehicle, the K-Byte, is from the Chinese company Byton. It has plans to start selling this car in 2021. The K-Byte has an estimated price of $45,000, and as a Level 4 autonomous car, it should drive itself in in some (but not all) environments. And its designers want you to know it’s a self-driving car. Sensors under the side mirror extend and can light up when the car is autonomous. And front and rear lidar sensors are connected by a design element dubbed the LiBow.