Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Acura of Tomorrow Drives Itself:

Honda’s latest concept drives itself, letting you to literally kick back and enjoy the ride.

Little of the AC-X — for Advanced Cruise eXperience — is grounded in reality, but then again, this is the Tokyo auto show. Few concepts we see in Tokyo aren’t grounded in reality. Like the gorgeous, but slow, electric Honda EV-STER, the AC-X is a glimpse of what could be. There’s a lot to like about this slick plug-in hybrid, and a lot to make you wonder, WTF?

Lets start with the interior, where Honda continues showing its disdain for steering wheels.

The AC-X is at least the third concept we’ve seen from Honda that features joysticks instead of a steering wheel. Honda calls it “twin-lever steering” and claims it is easier than using a wheel. According to the guys at Autocar, Honda tested the tech in an old F1 car and claims it led to better lap times. Hmmm…

In any event, the joysticks are available in “Engine-Drive Mode,” which lets you drive the AC-X pretty much like you’d drive a Civic or Accord. When the rigors of driving become too much, flip the switch to “Automatic-Drive Mode.” The joysticks retract and the car takes over, leaving you free to kick back in a reclining seat with an ottoman.

The exterior is stylish, even if we have no idea what Honda means when it describes it as “dual solid motion.” It continues a theme we’ve seen with cars like the FCX Clarity and FC Sport, but is more futuristic. The front end is a bit much, but Honda design director Yoshinori Asahi told Car & Driver the AC-X could influence the look of future Acura TL or RL models.

The body is accentuated by active aerodynamics that lower the front fascia and side skirts and adjust the rear diffuser. All of the moving around makes the car a little slicker at high speed, when half the energy a car expends is needed to simply push the air out of the way.

For all the high-tech gadgetry, the drivetrain is relatively standard fare, which suggests it might be something we’ll see in showrooms in the near future. It features a 161-horsepower electric motor mated to a 127 horsepower 1.6-liter gasoline engine. Honda says it will go up to 62 mph on electric power alone. Claimed range is 31 miles, though Honda didn’t offer any specs on the battery.

Honda’s said it will have some plug-in hybrids on the road next year, so although the AC-X is an outlandish flight of fancy, the drivetrain underpinning may not be.

Images: Honda

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...