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What the Tech: Cool concept cars are making me look forward to the new year

This week we’ve seen a whole range of concept cars, and it’s safe to say we just can’t wait to see them all in action as soon as possible.

After yet another year of Covid chaos, it doesn’t take much to make us look forward to another year, but at least from the automotive sector we’ve got a genuine reason for an optimistic fresh start, thanks to a little thing that never gets old: cool new cars.

The electric revolution that’s underway on our roads doesn’t just mean a whole new era in terms of fuel that hopefully will make a powerful difference to the environment of our planet. As we saw this week it can also usher in design changes that can be more off the wall than ever, without the necessary restrictions engendered by a combustion engine.

While many of today’s production-line vehicles don’t really do much to distinguish themselves from each other, recently-published concepts show that there is a lot of new thinking going on behind the scenes at major car brands, whether in the premium or affordable sectors of the market.

Nissan surf-out

Image Credit: Nissan

Nissan’s new concept car designs show genuine outside-the-box thinking that is exciting and refreshing. Take the Surf-Out concept that replaces the front grille with a transparent glass panel for one thing, or the Hang-Out car that allows you to turn around the front seats and turn your car into a small communal space. These are ideas that, while certainly wacky, could crystallise into a new way of thinking about our cars, both in how they look and in how they function.

BMW XM concept

Image Credit: BMW

On the other hand, BMW’s recently-unveiled XM concept car was met with a mixed reaction. There were some that liked the exaggerated geometry of this four-wheel drive, which was perhaps inspired by the bizarre Tesla Cybertruck, which gave it a brash and striking appearance. However, plenty of fans were very disappointed with the exaggerated front kidney grilles, which admittedly do seem to get larger with each new BMW model. We await with baited breath the day that they are bigger than the engine itself.

Whether or not you’re a fan of these path-breaking changes, it’s exciting to see carmakers taking new risks, seemingly emboldened by the switch to electricity over fossil fuels that allows for more flexibility. Sooner or later, once again, brands will soon settle down to find some common ground that suits consumer needs and the mass-manufacturing process, but for now the pieces are in flux and we can all enjoy the view down this quirky kaleidoscope.



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