The Escala Concept is being shown to the public as a “more expressive, expansive companion” to the highly successful Cadillac CT6 sedan. Escala (the Spanish word for “scale”) is a four-door luxury sedan with a rear liftback. The sleek car measures 211 inches long, roughly 6 inches longer than the CT6. Up front, organic LEDs serve as headlights and are thinner and deep-set within the body, giving the car “a more sinister look, day and night,” according to the company (though I’m unsure why they want to go with a “sinister” look).
Under the hood, the Escala features a 4.2-liter, twin-turbo V8, a prototype planned for use in several future Cadillac models. The engine can run on just four cylinders to save fuel, part of the Active Fuel Management subsystem. The body and frame are part and parcel of Cadillac’s RWD-centric large luxury car architecture, which debuted on the CT6 last year.
The Maybach 6 from Mercedes-Benz is an updated homage to the classic 2+2 coupes of yesterday. Though it looks longer, the all-electric Maybach is “just” 18.5 feet long. A shallow battery pack is mounted under the floor and it sends power to a 550 kW (or 738 hp) motor. The car can go from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds, it has a 200-mile range, and a quick-charge feature lets drivers add another 62 miles of range in five minutes of charging.
The body boasts some classic styling cues: gull-wing doors and a split rear window. And the padded leather seats include miniature body sensor displays that monitor the passenger’s vital signs and automatically adjust climate controls and massage functions in the seat. The high-end luxury car also includes two sets of exclusively designed suitcases that echo the car’s styling.
This Mini Cooper concept takes a lot of imagination to appreciate. That’s because many of the features are not yet possible. For example, the car is supposed to be wrapped in silver material that drivers can use as a blank canvas to display any colors or patterns they want. And the car’s computer is supposed to have a “persona,” the Cooperizer, that will suggest destinations and events nearby, and even inspiring roads to get there.
The car’s steering wheel is on a horizontal track so that the person in the driver’s seat can slide it over to the person in the passenger seat so that they can drive. The car also has a retro bench seat up front. According to the designers, it lets the driver and passenger slide in or exit from either side of the car.
The Mini Vision is also much smaller than today’s Mini Coopers, much more like the original Minis. The car’s designers say that crashes in the future will be much more rare, thanks to driverless technology, so there will be no need for the safety touches such as crumple zones and bumpers, and smaller cars will be just as safe as larger cars.
Jaguar is trying its hand at designing SUVs with its I-Pace, a five-seater that could be in showrooms next year. The all-electric vehicle will carry a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack made up of 36 of the latest pouch cells, which give it a high energy density (90-kWh capacity ) and good thermal management. For example, a heat pump in the battery pack takes heat from the outside to warm the cells and this can double the range in wintery conditions. The battery mounts low in the vehicle, right between the axles, which lowers the I-Pace’s center of gravity and improves handling.
The battery will power a pair of synchronous permanent-magnet motors arranged concentrically with the transmission. This makes the powertrain as compact as possible. The motors, each 9.2 inches in diameter and 20 inches long, will send 400 hp and 516 ft.-lb. of torque to the front and rear wheel, and send the car from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds. The vehicle will get 200 miles on a single charge. If drivers have access to a 50 kW DC rapid charger, they will be able to get an 80% recharge in 90 minutes. The batteries are also partially recharged when the driver hits the brakes, thanks to regenerative braking. The driver can control the regeneration and braking characteristics so that more or less power is recovered.
The Buick Velite, a four-door plug-in hybrid, will serve as “a template for future new energy vehicles” under Buick’s Blue Strategy. Its flowing lines and sculpted curves reminiscent of flowing water both improve aerodynamics and give a look at Buick’s approach to design for the future. The crossover vehicle has a wing-shaped front grille with matrix LED headlights. It also has a panoramic sunroof.
On the inside, designers relied mainly on recycled materials. Drivers will also benefit from sensors placed on the outside of all sides of the vehicle. They will be used to provide hazard warnings, lane-changing assistance, high-speed adaptive cruise control, low-speed automatic (driverless) control, and night vision.
Automakers are rolling out concept vehicles that include coupes, SUVs, and crossover trucks, as well as hybrids and all-electric offerings, revealing what they might be selling over the next decade.
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