Wheely friends

Volkswagen offers its vision of the cars of the future.

VW has come up with three futuristic vehicles which, it suggests, show what can be achieved technologically in just 20 years' time to meet the needs of consumers and the planet.

To this end, it has produced three different types of concept car - one for the single urban-user, a second for the pleasure-driver, and a third for the family.

The 'One' concept car is driven by a single occupant in urban areas, has a fully-electric (zero-emission) motor and can fold up for ease of parking. The suitably named 'Ego' is a high-performance two-seater coupe, while the 'Room' family car brings your home into your vehicle and will be able to change its interior space at
the touch of a button.

In other words, says VW, in 2028 your car will be like a "good friend": it knows you and thinks about things automatically - giving you clever shopping tips, providing information for you to do your job, and offering a range of entertainment. In just two decades, the typical car will carry out fundamental driving functions itself, allowing drivers to concentrate on what's important to them, VW believes.

Common to all three concept cars is technology that provides communication between the car, the driver, other drivers and the environment, with an emphasis on safety and an efficient use of road space.

The car of the future will know where it is and what is around it, VW says, and will be able to convey this via images superimposed on the windscreen and holographics projected in the car. Such projections will warn drivers about hazards up ahead. The car will be in permanent dialogue with other vehicles and the traffic infrastructure to avoid jams, prevent accidents and find a parking space at any time.

A car's sensors will use camera, laser, radar and other communication technologies to achieve "accident-free" driving.

To move to emission-free vehicles, VW says it is developing hybrid drive technologies that will rely increasingly on electric power. By 2028, cars will be powered purely from batteries and be fully electric and emission-free, it says.

And to be truly sustainable, the car of the future will no longer use non-renewable materials or any that have adverse or unknown effects.

And, with an eye on 'mass customisation', VW says you'll be able to change the colours and forms of your made-to-order car at any time. 

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