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  • Concept cars: a glimpse into the future.

  • You may find them synonymous

  • with outrageous designs, exaggerated interiors,

  • and features that have never been seen

  • in a production car,

  • like this floating key.

  • They're typically revealed at auto shows

  • where enthusiasts and the media "ooh" and "ahh"

  • at the future of mobility.

  • It's no secret that these one-off designs

  • can be expensive to build,

  • sometimes with a seven-figure price tag.

  • With so much invested in these cars,

  • why does it seem like we rarely see

  • these concepts make it to production?

  • And why does it seem like the coolest elements

  • are stripped away when they do?

  • We spoke with the design department

  • of some of the top automakers

  • to find out why automakers spend millions

  • on concept cars they don't plan on making.

  • Ralph: First of all,

  • people don't realize that concept cars, yes,

  • we would show them at auto shows typically,

  • and they're there for the media to enjoy.

  • But long after the media is gone,

  • the auto show's around for a couple weeks,

  • and the public comes around,

  • and they may not know much

  • about the brand sometimes,

  • and they go, "Whoa,"

  • and they come across this concept car

  • that makes an unmistakable statement

  • about where the brand wants to go with technology.

  • Narrator: That's Ralph Giles.

  • He's the head of global design

  • for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

  • He's worked on the design

  • of the 2005 Chrysler 300,

  • 2014 SRT Viper,

  • and many more.

  • Ralph: So vehicles like the Prowler,

  • the Jeep Rescue, and the Challenger,

  • and even the Viper,

  • all of those were concept cars at one time.

  • And what happened there is again

  • the public reacted to them in a visceral way,

  • in a way that says, "You have to build that car."

  • Sometimes, people will mail us checks,

  • deposits to see this car through

  • and very passionate letters.

  • None of that would've happened

  • had the concept not been there.

  • So when we see that,

  • we think we might've struck something here.

  • Narrator: Concept cars can also be used

  • to hype up a model

  • that is actually planned for production.

  • David: If we have a new launch of a new version

  • in our portfolio,

  • we would tease that

  • with a specific type of concept

  • that would be a slight exaggeration

  • of the production car.

  • So it would be slightly more idealized.

  • And of course that's to generate interest

  • but also awareness that this product

  • is coming to market a year or two later.

  • Narrator: Like the Lincoln Navigator concept,

  • it boasted gull wing doors

  • and steps that deployed

  • when the door lifted open,

  • almost inviting the passengers in.

  • These exaggerated features didn't make it

  • to the 2018 production car,

  • which had standard doors

  • and a single retracting step.

  • But the concept did capture attention

  • and brought excitement for the production version

  • of the car.

  • David: Those really extreme ones are the hardest,

  • but they would still have an influence

  • on the market ahead.

  • So you might not have seen them

  • in the first couple of years

  • after you first experienced them,

  • but maybe the longer run,

  • 10 years down the line, maybe they had

  • a big influence on the trend

  • of automotive design.

  • Narrator: Like BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics

  • concept car in 2009,

  • it was designed to be a high-performance hybrid,

  • balancing speed and fuel efficiency.

  • Five years later,

  • it became the BMW i8.

  • The design stayed intact,

  • but some of the flashy features

  • like the see-through doors and moving grill

  • didn't make it to production.

  • The i8 was a success for BMW,

  • and now we're seeing performance hybrids

  • from almost every brand.

  • But concept cars aren't just

  • to gauge consumer interest

  • or create excitement for a version of the concept

  • that will be released.

  • There's yet another reason.

  • Car companies use concepts to test out

  • how new technology might work

  • in cars of the future,

  • even if the exact concept will never hit the market.

  • Taro: We are approaching, as I discuss,

  • a more interesting technology innovation era,

  • and then we will try out future potential.

  • Using that technology

  • means we are not just making the show car

  • for the marketing purpose.

  • Narrator: Take driverless cars for example.

  • That technology is popping up

  • in almost every concept,

  • yet the technology itself seems so far away.

  • Turns out these concepts are testing out

  • how driverless technology could respond

  • to the way people interact with cars in the future.

  • According to Volkswagen's Klaus Bischoff,

  • the way people interact with cars today

  • is already different than how they used to.

  • We have ride-sharing services like Uber

  • and on-the-go rental services like Zipcar.

  • Driverless cars could be the next step

  • in the evolution of those services.

  • Klaus: We are at the transition

  • of a new era of mobility.

  • Electric cars will only be the beginning.

  • The concept cars today are the pioneers

  • of this new age of mobility.

  • Narrator: So concepts today are paving the way

  • for how we ride in cars tomorrow.

  • Take the Renault EZ-GO concept as an example.

  • The designers imagined a future

  • where passengers hopped in a driverless car

  • and take them to their destination.

  • Will the car of the future look exactly

  • like this concept?

  • Probably not,

  • but we know automakers are working on a future

  • where these types of services could be possible.

  • Ralph: I think many of what you see

  • will ultimately make it into production.

  • Again, elements, it'll take time.

  • Concept cars are a great way for designers

  • to explore the ideas and in a way compare notes

  • 'cause as more and more competitors

  • show their work,

  • they travel the internet.

  • But at the end of the day,

  • I think it keeps...

  • it raises the bar.

  • It really does make us go back

  • and wanna compete that much harder.

  • Narrator: Concepts are complex.

  • They come in many shapes and sizes

  • and are made for a variety of reasons.

  • From testing public opinion

  • to testing the latest technology,

  • concept cars are the first step

  • in moving the auto industry forward.

  • Without the opportunity to explore innovations

  • and see what other automakers are experimenting with,

  • cars would simply stay the same.

Concept cars: a glimpse into the future.

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為什麼汽車製造商花費數百萬美元購買他們不打算生產的概念車? (Why Automakers Spend Millions On Concept Cars They Don't Plan On Making)

  • 3 1
    day 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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