By Stuart Schwartzapfel
German design firm EDAG displayed a forward thinking concept—called the "Light Car - Open Source"—at this year's Geneva Auto Show. The electric-powered concept is made from basalt fiber, a strong yet inexpensive alternative to carbon fiber more regularly used as a fireproof textile in the aerospace industry. Lining the recyclable, glassy skin are vein-like strings of user-configurable organic LEDs that can change the look of both the headlamps and the interior. EDAG uses the transparent tailgate as a projection screen, making car-to-car communication possible. A Lithium-Ion battery, good for about 100 miles, sends power to wheel-mounted electric motors. The company says the lack of a gearbox and the conventionally mounted motor allowed them to offer luxury car-like space inside compact car dimensions.
The Verdict: Don't hold your breath
Stuart Schwartzapfel is a regular contributor to BusinessWeek.com. He has studied the automotive marketplace and works as an advertising and marketing strategist for major manufacturers. He does not write about any car brands for which he currently works.