It was perhaps just a few years ago that people would laugh you out of the pub if you tried to impress them with stories about your environmentally-friendly automobile. Even now, how many eco-cars can you name that actually qualify as cool?
The Tesla Roadster is without a doubt the most impressive and important of the maverick motorcars beating a path towards a green future but even that tends to be met with sneers of derision. At least today one can easily make a strong case for the practicality and usefulness of a Prius, not to mention its planet-friendly technology.
If recent news is any indicator, however, the day when schoolboys pin posters of environmentally-friendly sports cars to their bedroom walls cannot be too far away. Whether those posters will be pieces of paper pulled from magazines or screen savers displayed on 50-inch high-definition digital picture frames is another question, of course.
Mercedes and Gordon Murray
We have news of a couple of dramatic developments in the world of concept cars that might argue the day has already arrived. Both Mercedes-Benz and the great Gordon Murray appear to be working on the important job of providing pre-pubescent boys with ‘gnarly’ wheels to lust after.
You will no doubt remember why Gordon Murray is so important to petrol heads. In 1992, Murray, one of the greatest automotive designers ever to walk the planet, brought us the legendary McLaren F1 supercar, which completely rewrote the rule book on ultra super cars and even today, nearly 20 years since it first went into production, continues to show many other so-called exotic modern cars how to do the job of being an exotic modern automobile.
The great Mr Murray’s attention this time, however, has been turned to production of green sports cars using high-advanced materials. Japan-based Toray Industries has reportedly teamed up with Gordon Murray to develop an electric concept vehicle aimed at showing off Toray’s expertise with carbon fibre.
Called the T-Wave AR1, this concept is designed to leverage Toray’s materials expertise in order to produce a very light vehicle. The little two-seater weighs just 1,865 pounds but the carbon-fibre construction means the monocoque vehicle is incredible strong (and, therefore, safe).
The company says the concept vehicle’s frame has approximately ten times the strength of an equivalent steel structure. Should something go wrong, this space-age vehicle’s frame can handle 2.5 times more energy than can one built in steel.
At the moment, the AR1 is said to offer a range of about 115 miles and a top speed just north of 90 mph. With any luck, we should eventually see a road-going production version.
Meanwhile, the boffins at Mercedes-Benz have not been sleeping on the job. In addition to the question of environmental friendliness, fans of motoring trivia might enjoy a few tidbits regarding the connections between all of these companies. First of all, Murray’s legendary McLaren F1 is powered by a tuned engine from Benz competitors BMW.
The McLaren F1 racing team, on the other hand, has long used engines carrying the Mercedes-Benz logo and supported by the German automaker. Those engines were, in fact, originally produced by UK-based motorsports geniuses Ilmor but the company is now owned by Mercedes-Benz. So little time, so much trivia, eh?
Back to the job at hand – this amazing concept car. Dubbed the F 125! (yes, that exclamation mark is required), this snazzy gullwing coupe is currently the subject of rumours and much online debate. Exact details remain to be confirmed but it looks like this sleek and sexy machine will boast four electric motors generating a total of 231 horsepower.
According to rumours, this is only a concept vehicle but it is thought to indicate what the company’s CL-class cars could be like in the year 2025. The vehicle is thought to run on hydrogen and can accelerate from standstill to 100kph in under five seconds.
We shouldn’t have too long to wait, however. The F 125! is expected to break cover at the Frankfurt motor show this week.