Future of City Cars, Urban Mobility Revs Up: Photos
By Glenn McDonald,
Discovery News, 11 May 2016.

According to the United Nations, half of the world's population - around 3.5 billion people - now live in urban environments. This massive shift toward urbanization is driving demand for new kinds of personal transportation in and around cities.


In March, industry leaders gathered for the City Car Summit in Berlin to map out the future of city transportation. Organizers kept the focus on personal mobility solution, rather than mass transit, and covered everything from new vehicle designs to next-generation parking solutions.

We take a look at some of the concepts currently on the streets or in development. Let's go for a ride.

1. I-Road


Toyota's three-wheeled i-Road vehicle is already roaming the streets of Tokyo. The electric motor has a 50-kilometer range at typical city driving speeds. The plan is to deploy thousands of i-Road vehicles via car sharing services in select Asian and European cities.

2. Suzuki Q


Suzuki's radical reimagining of the smart car first debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show back in 2011. Designed for maximum maneuverability in tight urban spaces, the Suzuki Q-Concept sports a rear seat can be swapped out for two child seats or a cargo area. [Video]

3. Chicago Skyline


Some projects are exploring the gray areas between personal mobility and mass transit. For instance, Chicago is very seriously considering the Skyline, a network of transparent aerial cable car pods connecting Navy Pier to the Downtown Loop. You'll want to see the concept video.

4. Taxi Pods


On a related note, in April government officials in India - the planet's second most populous country - announced development of a personal rapid transport (PRT) system based on the concept of driverless taxi pods. The system would be similar to the Metrino PRT system in Auckland, New Zealand, pictured above.

5. Project M


In an effort to compete with renewable energy vehicles, ginormous oil companies like Shell are getting into the game of designing next-generation city cars. Shell's Project M vehicle uses a three-cylinder 660-cc engine that will provide fuel efficiency of around 90 mpg, the company says. Too bad the car looks like a rogue anime villain.

6. Elf Power


Of course, there's always pedal power. Developed by start-up company Organic Transit in Durham, North Carolina, the ELF is a car/bicycle hybrid vehicle with a solar-powered, 750-watt electric motor on board. You can pedal 'til you're tired, then let the motor handle those uphill climbs. Or not - the zero-emission engine has a 15-mile range all on its own.

7. MIT City Car


MIT Media Lab's CityCar incorporates some radical ideas for future city driving. The chassis folds up to provide a smaller footprint for “stackable” parking and can spin on its axis for maneuvering into tight spaces.

8. Scorpio


Designers are clearly having fun with the smarter car concept. At the fast-forward industrial design site Tuvie, designer Djordje Kovacevic showcases the Scorpio, a super-lightweight concept car that wins on style points, if nothing else.

Top image: MIT CityCar Concept. Credit: MIT Media Lab.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Some links added.]

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