The term "concept car" has been muddied in recent decades by vehicles barely removed from production cars. Where once cars little removed from concept vehicles were a novelty and something to celebrate, today it's the norm, and only details separate concepts from their production equivalents a matter of months later.
Thankfully, some still know how to give us the truly crazy concept cars we used to enjoy. More space ship than concept car, the EDAG Genesis sneaks a peek into the distant future of transportation--the sort of vehicle you're more likely to find on a utopian movie set than spinning around on an auto show turntable. Yet spin around it will, at the upcoming 2014 Geneva Motor Show, where EDAG will use the Genesis to preview a new automotive body structure.
Part of EDAG's aim is to look into different ways of producing automotive structures, using high-tech procedures like selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, stereolithography, and fused deposition modelling. The latter is particularly intriguing, removing some of the common restrictions that determine the size and shape of individual panels. The technique is a little like 3D printing, using robots to apply layer upon layer of thermoplastic substances in an open space. Carbon fibers applied through the layering process would give the material its strength.
Techniques such as this have given the Genesis its unusual skeletal frame, based on the "bionic patterns of a turtle". The outer shell, just like that of a turtle, provides both protection and cushioning and is intrinsically part of the car's structure. Such shapes could not be built using conventional tools, which is where EDAG's various manufacturing methods come in. In EDAG's own words there's still a long way to go before such techniques can be used in industrial application (and perhaps even longer before they're used on spectacular hovering vehicles like the Genesis) but for the time being, it's given us a concept vehicle in the truest sense of the term.
For more from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, click here.