The upcoming Geneva Auto Show is shaping up to be a major enviro-fest, and one of the most interesting vehicles on the floor will be from the German design and engineering firm EDAG. Called the Light Car-Open Source Concept, this innovative, five-door hatchback features a host of technologies that are still in the early stages of development. Kicking off its roster of "open source" elements, EDAG's electric urbocar features exterior panels made of basalt fiber, a 100-percent recyclable material created by processing crushed rock. In addition to being available in near-limitless quantities, the manufacturer of the industrialized form of this material, ASA-TEC, claims that it's also lighter and less costly to make than aluminum or carbon-fiber yet "has practically the same strength properties as conventional materials". Besides potential automotive applications, basalt fiber is being used to make rotors for wind generators.
Fitted with four in-wheel motors and powered by a Lithium-ion battery pack that gives it a claimed 150 km (93 mile) range, the Light Car's other signature breakthrough tech touch is its (O)LED lighting systems that permit a driver to select the size and shape of the headlight and taillight configurations to suit their individual preferences. The same multi-mode/multi-design capabilities are built into the vehicle's cabin displays and instrumentation.
"We have transferred today's multimedia and lighting technology standards to the car, and in future want to offer the customer scope for free configuration," said EDAG Design Studio head Johannes Barckmann. "The entire surface of the vehicle functions like the display of a multimedia installation." One practical example of that flexibility is the illuminated scale on the Light Car's rear window that can graphically display the amount of braking force being applied in any given situation.