The best science fiction tells human stories set against a backdrop of strange worlds or futuristic cities. Because pacing and plot are more important than lengthy, accurate descriptions of the technology at work in those worlds, most sci-fi writers don’t spend a lot of time on the various machines their protagonists use. We might know that our hero traveled in a shiny aluminum air car, but the details generally are left to our imagination.
Fortunately for those of us who want a real peek into the future, film is a visual medium. The best directors know that set and prop design are critical to the tone of a movie and that machines can be as important as the action. They pay a lot of attention to getting just the right look and, even though we may not get to open the hood on that futuristic air car, we definitely get to see it at work, get a feel for its lines and even some idea of how it handles. If they do their job right, we might even believe these vehicle could be real.
The following are, in this author’s opinion, some of sci-fi’s finest.
Today, TTAC was treated to what might be the first look at Acura’s newest flagship. While we saw renderings of the new car, we weren’t allowed to take photographs – but none of the information released was embargoed.
“Look, when we started the Prius project in 1993, we did not even think of a hybrid system for the Prius. We did not set out to build a hybrid. We studied what was needed for the 21st century, and two things were certain: The need to protect the environment, and the need to bring consumption down. That’s all we knew, and you did not need to be a clairvoyant to know it.”
The man who told me this last Friday better become clairvoyant. On Satoshi Ogiso’s shoulders rests the future of Toyota. Ogiso is responsible for all new technology at Toyota. As Chief Engineer, he is in charge of the Prius and its many siblings, he is responsible for plug-in hybrids, EVs, fuel cell hybrid vehicles, anything apart from the aging internal combustion engine is his.
I meet Ogiso at the world headquarters of the (still, officially) world’s largest automaker in Toyota City. (Read More…)
Louise Roe was on hand this morning at the Jag/Landie booth, continuing the LA trend of hiring fashion professionals to flog cars. When did models become the vision of all things automotive? Especially when you’re showing something as unabashedly alluring as CX-75 turbine-electric concept car. Why invite the awkward comparisons? Anyway, as supercar concepts come, the CX-75 is about as cool as they come. Not only can it claim to be a “Jet-Hybrid,” it looks like it could seduce an F-16 too. Drool.
Built on GM’s “Theta Premium” chassis alongside its Cadillac SRX sister in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, the Saab 9-4X crossover is less than completely Swedish but more than just a rebadged SRX. Specifically, at a base curb weight of 4,431 lbs (with GM’s 3 liter V6 driving the front wheels), it’s over 200 lbs more crossover than a base SRX.
Hunting prototypes for spyshots can be a frustrating and (if done in Finland) frosty affair. Carmakers are taking extreme measures to ward off paparazzi. Carmakers camouflage their prototypes (see video.) This doesn’t faze bloggers. Bloggers found a way to catch future cars in the comfort of their own home or office: From a ragtop Panamera in egmcartech to a similarly topless Mercedes AMG SLS in Topspeed, no future car is safe from bloggers anymore, even before the first prototype is built. Understandably, the Chinese are highly interested in the technique. You can learn it in a few minutes. What is the secret? (Read More…)