Filed under: LA Auto Show , BMW , Mazda , Subaru , Toyota , Design/Style Participants in the annual LA Design Challenge always manage to come up with edgy, wacky designs for future vehicles, but with a theme of “Biomimicry and Mobility: 2025″ this year’s crop of cars might be the quirkiest we’ve ever seen. As usual, automotive designers from around the world participated in this year’s competition, and all the designs will all be unveiled next week during the LA Auto Show with a winner being announced on November 21. Chinese automakers made a strong showing with Qoros , SAIC Motor , JAC Motors (the company responsible for the Ford F-150 clone ) and Changfeng all bringing interesting takes on the biology, human intelligence and sustainability theme. One of the more innovative ideas among these automakers is the Qoros Silk Road System allows autonomous vehicles to drive in packs similar to how ants travel. Speaking of ants, the SAIC Motor Mobiliant (shown above) gets its design from the shape of an ant’s body, and, like the insect, it can climb building acting as a personal elevator as well. The JAC Motors design also merges vehicle and building design, while the Changfeng LaBrea inspired by the design of muscle fibers. Other entrants include Subaru and US-based design teams for BMW , Toyota and Mazda . BMW’s duo of concepts mimic plant and animal life. The LA Subways concept acts as a submersible, single-person vehicle to take advantage of the LA river, with a shape similar to an Ocean Sunfish. The Sustainable Efficient Exploratory Device (SEED) imitates the shape of a seed pod, and uses propulsion methods inspired by a shark, dragonfly and a water bug.
Filed under: LA Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Technology , Hatchback , Audi , BMW , Honda , Mazda , Toyota , Diesel The list of finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year has been announced, and in a genuinely bizarre twist, there’s only one hybrid and no electric vehicles among the five contestants, despite the arrival of cars like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S . Taking the place of the EVs are a pair of diesels, repping a technology that last won a Green Car of the Year award in 2009, when the Audi A3 TDI took the title. No diesel was in the running for last year’s award. Naturally, both of the diesel finalists are fielded by the Germans – with BMW’s 328d and Audi’s A6 TDI getting the nod. In the case of the 3 Series , BMW installed a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel, capable of delivering 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, while returning 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Audi and its larger, 3.0-liter, V6 turbodiesel produce quite a bit more grunt, with 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of grunt, but net a very impressive 38 mpg on the highway in the A6 . Finalists for this year’s awards include two diesels, three gas-powered cars and a plug-in hybrid. This year’s awards are a coup for gas-powered vehicles, as well. Both the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 are finalists, with jurors citing the Mazda’s i-ELOOP and Skyactiv technology, which allow the handsome car to net up to 41 mpg. The Corolla, meanwhile, offers a new Eco trim, which can return 42 mpg from its 1.8-liter, naturally aspirated, gas engine.