Green cars of the future

The Michelin Challenge Design competition made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in 2002. 

That year the competition, which provides an opportunity for designers from all over the world to present their most interesting works, had a total of 125 entries. The competition is now celebrating its 10th year and has gotten slightly larger. Last year, the design competition drew 970 entries.

For those keeping score at home, that’s an increase of about 700 percent over 2002. For 2012, Michelin announced that the theme for the 2012 show will be “City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity.”

And this being a contest sponsored by a tire company, the year 2046 was chosen because it is the 100th anniversary of the radial tire.

The 2012 Michelin Challenge Design participants were asked to design a personal, ground-based vehicle capable of transporting between two and ten people for Paris, Shanghai, Mumbai, Rio or Los Angeles for the year 2046.  

In selecting a city, the vehicle proposal must provide a solution to the transportation issues unique to that city. Michelin says that they’ve already had a record response for 2012 and recently posted a gallery of some of the entries. Wondering what you’ll be driving in 2046? We’ve got highlights.

The Nyx, designed for Paris, does away with traditional storage gas cylinders for hydrogen and instead splits collected rain water (stored within glass tubules of the interior structure) into hydrogen and oxygen via a catalyst currently in development at MIT. 

This, partnered with sunlight collected in especially designed water prisms, lowers the solar energy required to split the water into its constituent parts.

The hydrogen is not stored, rather injected into the fuel cell to generate electricity.

The Cali (City, Art, Act, Ingenuity) is an electric car made for the Shanghai of the future.

It’s constructed out of stretchable materials and has an adjustable frame used to suit the driving conditions.

The Jeweline is driven by an electrical induction system implanted in the road. Designed for Paris, the Jeweline is a transparent luxury vehicle which travel around the city “as the precious stones of an immense necklace.”

We’ve already discussed the Eclipse before, a personal mobility vehicle designed for the India of 2046.

The Eclipse is an electric amphibious, three-wheel trike for two that features car-like seating for the driver and a motorcycle-like ride for the passenger.

The Soleil is a two-seat concept designed for the Paris of the future — narrow streets, impossible parking and very congested.

“Soleil is a high tech minimal vehicle which solves the problem of finding parking spot; with a push of a button, it folds into a luggage that you can carry and charge everywhere even at your apartment.”

* Steve Duda, EarthTechling