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We’ve evolved from horse-drawn buggies to gas-powered vehicles, but what’s next?
At the Geneva International Motor Show, automaker Nissan teamed up with Foster + Partners — a British architecture and integrated design firm — to envision a future without gas stations. Instead, zero-emission electric vehicle systems that run off renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind and water will charge wirelessly and possibly power our connected homes. There could also be innovative uses for recycled car batteries.
“Technology holds many of the answers for the challenges we face in our cities today," Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox said in a press release. "However, the true power comes when those technologies are integrated with each other and the world around us."
Related: Tesla's $35,000 Model 3 Will Be Available for Pre-Order on March 31
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Here are four more futuristic innovations coming from the car industry. These changes, like the vehicles they’re a part of, will help to drive us forward — in energy, technology and design.
1. Hydrogen-powered engines
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, both Audi and Lexus debuted hydrogen fuel cell prototypes. Toyota has a hydrogen model, called the Mirai, and Honda’s is the FCX Clarity. The Clarity has been available since 2008 — considered a pioneering move — and its newest hydrogen model is the first to seat five people.
These cars don’t give off any carbon emissions that would contribute to global warming. Instead, the machine expels water vapor. Although the cars are energy efficient, they might not be cost-efficient yet: The Mirai has a pricetag of $57,500 and Honda’s newest Clarity will cost $67,000. The lack of hydrogen fueling stations across the U.S. also puts a damper on the vehicles.
Related: We Could Be 3 Years Away From Secured Connected Cars, Automakers Say
2. Mercedes's autonomous actions
The Mercedes 2017 E-class sedan is reportedly able to park itself and drive to its owner via a smartphone app. The car can also drive itself on the highway at speeds up to 130 miles per hour using the Drive Pilot feature. The vehicles can autonomously change lanes and steer itself at 81 miles per hour or less.
3. Exterior enhancements
Buick’s new concept car, the Avista, has hidden touchpad door handles. The glass roof on the Avista is a popular feature, also part of Faraday Future’s FFZERO1 and the Chevrolet Bolt. Other innovations include the lighter, more aerodynamic design of the newest Ford GT. LED headlights, aside from looking nice, provide better visibility for driving at night.
Related: Aston Martin to Develop Its First Electric Car
4. Interior improvements
Clearer sound systems, touch sensitive steering wheels that control infotainment centers, 3-D printed trim and ionic air purifiers are all innovations that will make cars of the future more comfortable.