With the Geneva Auto Show less than a month up the road, I thought it would be fun to postulate the wackier attractions that we might see in Switzerland. Some of these concepts have been drifting about for years, though none of them have ever made it to mass production. Will this be the year? Leave your predictions in the comments.
Michelin Tweel Airless Tires
Imagine a world where air compressors and pressure gauges do not exist. A world where aftermarket wheels are not necessary. A world where law enforcement spike strips are ineffective against your tires. This world is brought to you by the Michelin Tweel airless tire. The company has been experimenting with airless tires for over half a decade now, and have flaunted prototypes at select car shows within recent years. Michelin Tweel tires are constructed using an outer rubber tread, sheer band, deformable wheel and flexible spokes. Thanks to this design, the tires have the ability to act as supplemental shock absorbers, which should boost handling. Will Michelin officially announce the Tweel for the masses in Geneva?
Tata Mini CAT Air-Powered Car
The plug-in EV craze has nothing on India-based Tata Motors’ zero emissions machine. The Tata Mini CAT runs entirely on a tank of compressed air, so it’s safe to say that the car gusts down the street. The car was developed by a former Formula One engineer and is expected to be around $8,200 U.S. dollars if it ever makes it over here. The Tata Mini CAT is said to have a top speed of 60MPH and a range of 185 miles, which is about double that of modern mainstream EVs. The best part is that it would cost about three bucks and take three minutes to fill a tank at a gas station with the proper compressed air equipment. Without combustion, the Tata Mini CAT will run on one liter of vegetable oil that can be changed every 30,000 miles. Tata says we’ll see production of the Mini CAT this August. Will they make it official in Geneva, or is this car totally bogus?
Renault Eclipse Three-Wheeled Water Jet Car
One part Can-Am Spyder, one part car, one part jet ski and unlimited parts baffling, the Renault Eclipse is one of the most intriguing concepts we’ve seen to date. The concept was originally designed by an Indian student who won second place in the All India Automobile Design Challenge, but Renault liked it enough to take it under its wing. Powered by three individual hub-based electric motors, the designer imagines a paper-thin lithium-ion battery that is incorporated into the frame. Regenerative braking will conserve power, as well as a turbine that generates power for the battery. In order for the Eclipse to turn into a jet ski, the rear wheel rotates 90 degrees and a propellor acts as a turbine to send you off into the sea. Craziness! Will Renault bang off a concept in time for the show?