Today’s cars and trucks have many capabilities and often cross over traditional concepts of vehicle types. Despite this evolution, many people still want more from their cars. More trunk space, more power, more traction, more…cupholders.
While it’s admittedly not realistic, it would be nice to have a cartoon-like car that could expand or adapt to fit whatever that day’s driving requires.
Wouldn’t it be fun to serve as a vehicular Dr. Frankenstein, cobbling together the mismatched parts of your favorite vehicles to assemble the ultimate work of automotive engineering? The resulting car might not be easy on the eyes – it may even attract torch- and pitchfork-wielding townspeople – but you’d have a vehicle that could tackle any driving condition:
A fast engine would be great, not to drive like a speed demon, but to pass slower cars when necessary. Driving through one-lane roads in the mountains is a pain in the neck when you’re stuck behind a plodder. The 8-liter, 1,001-hp engine of the Bugatti Veyron that goes from zero to 60 mph in under 2.5 seconds would certainly make that passing lane a little more satisfying.
We’re talking truly all-terrain. That means ultra-grippy wheels on the road and extreme traction off it. But what if those capabilites were augmented or supplemented with the ability to ‘drive’ across water? Not mere puddles, but ponds and lakes! In addition to those amazing tires, our Frankenstein vehicle would also feature the air-powered skirt of a hovercraft, allowing it to float over any surface. Say goodbye to the economical and undersized spare.
Wraparound windows, like those on the Nissan Cube, can make backing out and turning easier. We also like the simple but small window the Prius has in front of the sideview mirror. Backup cameras in minivans are also nice. But this Frankenstein car needs the surround camera system found on recent models of the Land Rover. Blind spots are a thing of the past with this five-camera system and customizable visual interface. With this in place, hindsight truly is 20-20.
A gas/electric hybrid like the Prius is great for saving money and the environment, but our concept vehicle needs more. Green is good (especially when we’re talking Frankenstein), so let’s go solar. Powering the engine, at least in part, will be lightweight photovoltaic panels, like those being tested on the SolarWorld GT, a car propelled around the world only by the power of the sun’s rays.
No matter how great this–or any–car is, scratches are an unfortunate part of the real world. What if your car automatically repaired itself? Paint technology continues to improve and for the past few years, many vehicles have been sporting self-repairing paint. In the presence of sunlight, the coating reacts and minor scratches are filled in and all-but disappear. This Frankenstein ride doesn’t have to display an ugly scar like its movie-monster inspiration.
Driving in a car with all these capabilities wouldn’t be much fun if you’re afraid your passengers might be in danger. Super safety and security features are a must. Seatbelts are not only the law, they’re effective. But sometimes they can be the cause of injury. Welcome to inflatable seatbelts. First available in 2011 Ford Explorers, inflatable seat belt technology employs a tubular airbag to increase both comfort and safety.
Considering all the bells and whistles this vehicle would contain, it would likely be a target of car thieves…but they can’t steal what they can’t see. This ultimate car needs ultimate security, and that means stealth…or invisibility. Our Frankenstein car could utilize active-camouflage technology, covering the exterior skin with both cameras and tiny LED lights to project the background image on the near side of the car, rendering it nearly invisible. Just don’t forget where you parked it.