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Cars of Tomorrow

Cars of Tomorrow

Cars of Tomorrow

INSIDE: A shape-shifting BMW with X-ray vision; why Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 could be your next electric car; how your car will read your mind; virtual reality showrooms; how to print a car, plus a buyer’s guide to all the hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles on sale today.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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In this issue

1 min.
welcome

Has anything changed our lives more than the internal combustion engine? Just think, for the vast majority of human history, we could travel only as fast as our horses carried us. But in little more than a century after the first proper engines came along, our maximum ground speed would break the sound barrier. Along the way, we turned the car from a privilege for the wealthy few into something most people can own. And yet, if you were to write a history of cars in a few hundred years from now, those powered purely by fossil fuels will seem as antiquated as steam trains seems today. The car industry has always moved fast. But this could be the most promising era for transport since we stepped into the very first…

8 min.
warp speed

This is BMW’s centenary year. For one of the world’s most respected car makers, it could be an excuse for a self-congratulatory trawl through the back catalogue – and yes there has been a bit of that. But BMW also has a progressive outlook, so is turning towards its second century by designing a one-off concept car. It hypothesises a batch of ideas the firm sees itself putting into production cars two or three decades from now. In some ways it’s also a response to a striking paradox of the coming era. BMW has always been known for driving dynamics, and for the particular response and sound of its combustion engines and transmissions. But future suspension systems will be more controlled by electronics and autonomous driving systems. And future powertrains will…

1 min.
adrian van hooydonk

“If you can imagine the future, you’ve made the first step,” says Adrian van Hooydonk. To run the design department of a car company these days isn’t just about drawing future-friendly wrappers for the vehicles. Van Hooydonk acts as a seer across the whole gamut of experiences through which a future customer might touch his company. He thinks about the way new forms of mobility will change our relationships with cars, and new forms of ownership s|QT PQP QYPGTUJKR KP VJG ECUG QH ECT sharing. He’s re-imagining the ways connectivity will transform our journeys, and corralling that transformation into new interfaces. He’s figuring out how we’ll use our time in cars when we no longer need to drive, but also ensuring that at times we’ll still want to take control.…

1 min.
buy it now: the bmw i3

Early manifestations of many ideas in the Vision Next 100 are already on the road in the BMW i3. Its electric drive gives acceptably lively performance for urban or motorway driving, and a range of about 100 miles (for the basic, pure-EV version rather than the version with a range-extender combustion engine, which is able to travel further before needing recharging or refuelling). The i3’s passenger cell and external body panels are mostly carbon fibre, made using lower-cost methods developed by BMW itself. The body offers saloon-car interior space in compact overall dimensions, and it’s shaped for extremely low aerodynamic drag. The lounge-like interior abandons BMW’s familiar driver-focus, for a more sociable, relaxed feel. Critical to the i3’s usability are its online functions. The navigation system will seek out TGEJCTIKPI RQKPVU…

1 min.
bmw’s other shape-shifter

The Vision Next 100 (see previous page) isn’t BMW’s first concept car, not by a long shot. In fact, it’s not even its first shape-shifting car. That title goes to the GINA Light Visionary Model of 2008. It too was a showcase for some strange new ideas, the most obvious being the polyurethane-coated Spandex bodywork that formed a stretchy, extremely tight-fitting skin around a metal frame. Yep, someone actually thought the Car of the Future would be shrink-wrapped in Mr Motivator’s trousers. What was the point in that? They key was that aluminium frame, which was designed to lengthen, shorten, expand and contract at the driver’s command. Want a big wing for more downforce? Just press a button, let the actuators do their work, and it shall be done. Need to…

5 min.
autonomous tech now & next

TESLA AUTOPILOT After the most recent over-theair software update, and by using its cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, the Model S can now steer itself along a motorway, change lanes and adjust its speed according to traffic. The tech it uses is fairly common; the difference is that it’s brought together in one OQFG VJCV CEVWCNN[ CNNQYU VJG FTKXGT VQ VCMG VJGKT JCPFU QHH VJG YJGGN |+V can’t see beyond the car in front, but it will stop you crashing into it. MERCEDES E-CLASS Most cars with a fully autonomous vehicle licence are specially DWKNV RTQVQV[RGU 6JG /GTEGFGU|' %NCUU JQYGXGT |KU VJG YQTNFoU first standard production vehicle to be granted a test licence for autonomous driving. Taking the Tesla and BMW tech one step HWTVJGT VJG ' %NCUU KUPoV PGEGUUCTKN[ FGRGPFGPV QP TQCF…