Last January, Larry Burns, General Motors’ vice president for research and development and planning, unveiled the company’s plans for the car of the future. It wasn’t exactly a car but the underpinnings of one, sort of a 16-foot-long, two-dimensional wine carafe on wheels — what Burns called the ”skateboard.” The car would come in two parts, Burns explained. The car’s power and control system would be encased in the skateboard, which could be kept for decades while customers shuffled car bodies as tastes changed. And the bodies, too, would be radically different from what we know, with the windshield extending all the way down to the floor because the car’s essential systems are kept underfoot. The first working prototype, dubbed Hy-wire, made its debut at the Paris Motor Show last week.
Hy-wire represents a merging of technologies: the hydrogen fuel cell, a power system that creates electrical current from chemical reactions and drive-by-wire, which replaces mechanical linkages between parts with electronic ones. Taken together, the technologies would move the automobile from the machine age to the digital age and result in a car that emits only water vapor. … automakers have been focused on fuel cells for less than a decade, compared with a century of dead ends on batteries, and are quickly closing the gap.
Via [Synergic Earth News]