Concept cars always tease a too-good-to-be-true future. In the case of the much-hyped Toyota fuel cell FCV, the production car delivered on the technology without delivering on the styling the concept proposed. Still, the realization was important. For every dreamt-about car that makes it to market, there are countless others — like the Cadillac Ciel — that die back on the drawing board.
Electric vehicle concepts are twice as tricky. By the time an automaker gets the car rolling out, battery and motor technology have taken several steps forward. Automakers have to think several years ahead when bringing a model to production. Nonetheless, the industry needs every that pressure to continue pushing the standards ahead in emissions, performance, styling, and range. Here are six electric vehicle concepts that deserve a production run.
1. Rimac Concept_One
Cars like the Tesla Model S destroy the argument that electric vehicles are flimsy or weak. The Rimac Concept-One would power the EV industry light years forward as a supercar that can race with the fastest vehicles in the world. Capable of going 0-60 in 2.8 seconds with four electric motors that provide 1088 horsepower, the Rimac Concept_One would be faster off the line than the Koenigsegg Agera R, the supercar that recently arrived in America.
Just as importantly, the Concept_One would offer the world an electric car capable of topping the Model S for electric range. Rimac’s Croatian founder and designer expects the Concept_One to get 373 miles on a full charge, which would be best in the EV industry. The first small run of production is expected to begin in early 2015.
2. Mini Superleggera Vision
Mini turned countless heads when the automaker brought out an all-electric roadster at the Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este in May. Coach builder Touring Superleggera teamed up with Mini on the electric concept that has a great deal of British charm and would cover significant range with EV technology from parent BMW at its disposal.
Feedback has been excellent for the Superleggera Vision since its first appearance, which has led to speculation Mini could produce it in limited quantities. The EV industry could use every attractive halo car it can get.
3. TUM Create Eva Taxi
In terms of practicality and emissions reductions, it is a wonder cities like New York and L.A. have not pushed harder to get electric taxi fleets on the streets. A study commissioned by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg found that New York City could save 13 million gallons of gasoline and 55,640 tons of CO2 emissions annually if it switched one-third of taxi fleets to electric models in the coming years.
The Technische Universität München (TUM) and Nanyang Technological University collaborated on a taxi concept that could provide 120 miles of range on just 15 minutes of charging time. In addition, it features an innovative overhead air-conditioning system that cools passengers without taxing the battery excessively. While designed for tropical climates like Singapore’s, the taxi could provide a practical solution for many U.S. cities suffocating from CO2 emissions.
4. Audi R8 e-tron
Sure, the name sounds like it was meant for a robot, but the Audi R8 e-tron concept’s sports car thrills and impressive electric range would make it a very welcome addition to the electric vehicle industry. In 2012, the R8 e-tron made headlines for breaking production car records on the Nürburgring Nordschleife run, but it appeared as if the concept would die like so many other bright lights of the past.
Audi revealed in March 2014 that it had solved some of the problems it had encountered in the past, making the potential R8 e-tron a much more exciting proposition, with 281 miles of electric range (as opposed to 115) on the table. Throw in top speeds over 155 mph and there is an expensive, blistering EV shouting out to be made.
5. Ford C-Max Solar Energi
How will electric vehicles ever become “zero emissions” cars anyway? Ford showed the simplest way of all by installing solar panels on the roof of a C-Max Energi that can power the electric motor over 20 miles. The C-Max Solar Energi offers the cleanest form of transportation possible through the use of special solar panels. Rather than the full roof’s worth of panels it takes to power a home’s electricity needs, this solar concept car got help from Georgia Tech to create magnification using a smaller set of panels.
The EV industry needs more solutions that work toward the dream of transportation without emissions. So far, solar power is the only way to make an electric motor run without any collateral emissions. If Ford can make it happen, the industry would take a huge step forward.
6. Nissan ESFLOW
Nissan has shown a pronounced desire to experiment in the electric vehicle space in recent years. From its BladeGlider three-seat concept to the E-NV200 electric minivan, there is no telling what Nissan may actually bring to production. As with the Rimac Concept_One and the Audi R8 e-tron, the industry could use as many attractive performance EVs as it can get. Nissan’s ESFLOW would be one such vehicle.
The ESFLOW is a sports car styled for the future that can flash from 0-60 in under 5.0 seconds and travel over 150 miles on a full battery charge, according to Nissan. It also feature a hint at how to style plugs on future battery-powered cars. Nissan hid the charging plugs under the ESFLOW’s front LED lights.