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Nissan's Concept Esflow 

Twin electric motors mounted just ahead of the rear axle send power to the left and right wheels independently, for precise cornering.
Courtesy Nissan
When Nissan introduced its Leaf last year, it became the first major automaker to enter the modern pure-electric-vehicle market, which was previously populated almost entirely by tiny carmakers such as the Palo Alto, California, company Tesla Motors. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that his company would invest more than $5 billion in electric cars through 2013, and that it would soon become the world's largest electric-vehicle maker. Then in March, Nissan made its most direct assault on the little guys—it unveiled an electric sports car.For now, the Nissan Esflow is a concept, but Nissan is considering full production. It's not a stretch: The Esflow is based on the same batteries and motors that power the Leaf. The rear-drive Esflow carries a 975-pound, 36-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, compared with the 24 kilowatt-hours found in the Leaf. To partially offset that extra weight, the concept uses a feathery carbon-composite body affixed to an aluminum chassis. Rear-mounted cameras replace side-view mirrors, reducing drag. Fixed seats sculpted into the bulkhead eliminate seat frames and the motors that adjust them. Likewise, the accelerator, brake pedals and shifter are electronic, eliminating the mechanical steering column and pedal assemblies.
BMW Track Trainer
The BMW Track Trainer is a robot car: a fully autonomous automobile capable of racing the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California's Monterey County (or any other track it's been programmed to run) at the limit of traction, mere seconds off the time a professional would run in the same model. BMW uses it to train drivers by showing them how the perfect racing line feels from the driver's seat and by providing real-time feedback, with corrections, once they decide to take over the controls themselves. But the car is also a showcase for BMW's Driver Assistance System, a series of radar and GPS sensors that work in concert with computer-operated steering, brake and power systems to achieve what BMW describes as "highly autonomous driving."

Realizing Bondesque Visions, BMW is Mounting Lasers in Its Headlights

The BMW i8 Concept
Now with lasers.
BMW Calling laser headlights "the next logical step" after the LED headlamp, BMW has announced that it will be rolling out laser-based illumination on its next-gen BMW i8 concept and will further develop laser headlight technology for extension across its various models. Why? It saves fuel. And presumably because laser headlights is something we've all secretly wanted on our European sports cars since MI6 tricked out 007's first ride.

Scaly BMW Concept Car Collects Solar Power, Then Raises Panels to Brake

The BMW Lovos car has solar photovoltaic cells all over its body

Scaly BMW Beast
In the top photo, the scaly flaps are down, absorbing solar power. In the bottom photo, they are raised to brake the car.
Anne Forschner

Plenty of cars can look cool and run green these days, but now designers are taking such concepts to extremes. The BMW Lovos has 260 exterior flaps that can collect solar power and act as airbrakes at the same time.

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