Article

At the Vanguard

Check out three futuristic utility concepts from Detroit, Japan and Brazil.

October 2014, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Stephane Babcock

Nimbus e-Car

Part VW minibus, part moon rover, the Nimbus e-Car concept springs from the mind of Brazilian artist and designer Eduardo Galvani. Built from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum, the e-Car was designed for short-distance hauls in urban areas and extended trips across varied terrain. A 130-kilowatt (180-horsepower) electrical engine and lithium-ion battery would work in combination with a micro combustion generator that would constantly charge the batteries.

Toyota Urban Utility

Toyota says “a growing innovative spirit in urban areas” inspired its latest concept vehicle. The Urban Utility (a.k.a. U2) features a rollback roof and tailgate ramp, customizable interior and a versatile rail system. The cabin will include a retractable utility bar that can hold a desk or hooks for grocery bags, side windows that flip up for easy access, and a shifter design with an intuitive switch for drive, reverse and park.

Chevrolet Niva 

The Chevrolet Niva may look like the crossover SUV of the future, but its heritage stretches back to the 1970s. Based on the ageless Lada Niva, this concept vehicle was created by a partnership between General Motors and Russian manufacturer AvtoVAZ. If it makes it to the production line, off-road enthusiasts will love the Niva’s winch, tow hooks, snorkel, underbody cladding and roof rack. The production version would house a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at around 135 horsepower.

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