Nov 122011
 

Some of the ideas might not be all that far from production models

 
Any fan of Formula One racing will tell you that very small changes to the underside of an automobile can deliver major changes to the speed, handling and road-holding of said automobile. Due to the extreme costs associated with wind-tunnel development, varying the shape of racing cars is largely banned, and hence very few road-going cars have seen variable aerodynamics beyond the raising of rear spoilers for added down-force at speed, as used in the Bugatti Veyron and a small number of other very expensive exotic sports cars. One of Honda’s latest batch of concept cars looks set to break with tradition though, by exploring this theme with front and rear bumpers which raise and lower to offer better aerodynamics depending on the speed.

Honda’s line-up of concept automobiles, motorcycles, power and mobility products at the Tokyo Motor Show this year is very impressive, and the most interesting is the AC-X, a next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicle that at first glance appears to be relatively conservative for a vehicle designed to gauge public opinion on new technologies and designs.

Indeed, the entire release devoted to the AC-X in the lead up to its debut at the 43rd International Tokyo Motor Show next month reads as follows: “A next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicle which offers a more comfortable and enjoyable time in the vehicle during all driving situations, from urban to long-distance driving. With the choices of an “engine drive mode” for more aggressive driving or an “automatic drive mode” for more relaxed driving, the vehicle broadens the joy of mobility.”

That’s really not a lot to go on, but an examination of the photographs released by the Japanese manufacturer reveals some interesting technologies at work, and some of them might not be all that far from production models.

Read more . . .
 
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