Our known petroleum reserves will last us only for another 40 years or so. And then bam! The internal combustion engine would be defunct forever! Hybrid and electric cars would rule the roost. Maybe cars running on water and hydrogen will also become prevalent. One never knows what may be in store for us in the next 40 years. Novelties such as the Ford Basura, a disposable car, have already been showcased as concepts. I don’t think people 40 years before us would have even thought of the concepts coming out today, in their wildest of dreams!
Technology is constantly evolving and with it is our ability to think out of the box and create new inventions which would revolutionise the world of motoring. The cars in the market today would soon become antiques and when the present generation grows up, it would tell the next generation tales of cars that ran on petroleum in the not-so-distant past.
Imagine no V8, no V12, just a meek rechargeable battery tucked away where the majestic engine used to live out its days in pride!
It is an unfortunate truth that most of the concept cars nowadays, do not reach production. And the small fraction of them that do, are changed so much from the original, that the production model retains little of the original design. Concept cars are supposed to be precursors to better things. But the ‘better things’ take so much time to come to life that people start losing interest. It is important that concept cars are quickly built into production models which do not differ too much from them.
The technology incorporated in concept cars is highly advanced but it is essential that this technology is replicated in the production model. More often than not, production models based on previous concepts are just their scaled down versions, and are not as advanced as them. Moreover, their looks are also much simplified. Many exceptional concepts have not even made it to production. For instance, the Bentley Hanaudieres, the Lotus M250, the Ford GT40 and GT90 and countless other cars which have been unlucky to have not been produced. Until concept cars are produced, I would reiterate, “they will remain just that, concepts.”
Recently, there has been a great influx of conceptual designs of cars in varied platforms. I especially liked Adrian van Hooydonk’s ‘layered’ design for BMW. However, some of the designs coming out are preposterous, to say the least. For example, the Renault Captur looks more like a beach cabana on steroids, with a hammock in the rear. I was also not particularly impressed by the practicality of some vehicles like the VW Race Touareg and the rather spaceship-like VW XL1.
Ssangyong, the Korean manufacturer, launched the concept SUT1, which bore more than a passing resemblance of shape to the now redundant Hummer H2 SUT and in styling, its front resembles the Toyota Hilux. Moreover, this car has been powered by a 2.0 diesel powertrain, which, for a car of such large proportions is highly inadequate. I don’t think many people would fancy driving an underpowered giant!
The car safety scene today is booming. With all major car companies coming up with new technologies to boost safety, I see it heading in the right direction. Volvo, in particular, has been a pioneer of the barrel chested, streetwise, go ready car. Such have been its advancements in the car safety field, that it has been called the Big Daddy of car safety. Everywhere, we see instances of Volvo cars, coming out of accidents, with their occupants unscathed. This has been such a recurrent feature that Volvo has definitely cemented the top spot for itself in the higher echelons of car safety. Its flagging sales in recent times have been, although, of its own making. Competition from the giants of Germany has left this Swede biting the dust. This has largely been because of the appeal that German cars garner. A subtle mix of luxury and speed along with loads of kit and its all familiar safety features can make this Swedish powerhouse go miles!
Cadillac’s engineers have taken the ATS sedan to the North Loop of the Nürburgring in Germany, a.k.a Nordschleife in an effort to fine-tune the ATS calibrations for the new 270bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.6-litre V-6 engines, along with the 2nd generation Cadillac Magnetic Ride Control suspension.In order to compete with the rear-driving Bimmers and Mercs, the Caddy features a sporty all- wheel drive. The ATS was formally announced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
BMW and Mercedes watch out!
Paul Scholes has rejoined the playing staff at Manchester United for the remainder of the season with immediate effect, after approaching Sir Alex Ferguson to reverse his decision, made at the end of last season, to retire.
He went straight onto the bench for this afternoon’s FA Cup third round tie against Manchester City, which United won 3-2.
Sir Alex Ferguson said: “It’s fantastic that Paul has made this decision. It’s always sad to see great players end their careers, but especially so when they do it early. But he has kept himself in great shape and I always felt that he had another season in him. It’s terrific to have him back.”
Paul Scholes added: “I’ve been pretty clear since I stopped playing that I miss it. I’m delighted the manager feels I can still make a contribution to the team and I’m looking forward to playing my part in trying to bring more success to this great club.”