With technological advancements like electric-running cars, motion-sensing cameras and even Google’s (GOOG) self-driving vehicle, the possibilities seem endless for crazy concept cars.
Earlier this month, South Korea showed off its electric “Armadillo-T” car, designed to save space by contracting its body nearly in half. Also, you can park it with your smartphone. But don’t expect to be doing Fast & Furious stunts in your tiny, lightweight vehicle — the thing can’t even hit 40 miles per hour, not to mention it doesn’t pass safety standards.
Still, the car is fascinating in its design, and it’s far from the only new concept car that can say so. Here’s a look at five of the strangest and most interesting concept cars.
After enough demand for a drivable dance party, Honda finally designed the Fuya-jo, or “Sleepless City.”
The Fuya-jo looks like a 20-square-foot dance club on wheels, with four tall seats and turntable-inspired dashboard. It was shown off in 1999 at the Tokyo Motor Show, and marketed specifically to the party crowd. The low, flat design was intended to evoke skateboards, roller blades and other things that were popular in the ’90s.
There’s no way to top the company’s own description: “The Fuya-jo is designed for party animals who demand the full excitement of night life.”
Disco ball and strobe lights sold separately.
Toyota Fun Vii
If you’ve always wanted your car to have a dynamic digital exterior and look like a coffin, Toyota (TM) has just the thing for you.
Shown off at the 2011 Tokyo Motor show, the Fun Vii is everything you could want in a futuristic car: it’s self-driving, features a luxurious and spacious interior, and comes with a holographic navigation concierge.
This car looks tailor-made for the wealthy and capricious buyer. Do you want a different-color car for each day of the week? Use your smartphone or tablet to change the car’s exterior in dramatic, scaly fashion.
We spotted Microsoft (MSFT) logos in the promo video, though, so millions of drivers will presumably never report anything each time their car crashes.
A solar-powered car is good.
A solar-powered car made of hundreds of moveable scales that also act as airbrakes and presumably weapons … well, we’ll leave that up to you.
The BMW Lovos — surprisingly not designed by MI6’s Q branch — is the product of a 24-year old German designer. It has a sleek-yet-spiky design that evokes snake scales. And depending on your perspective, the wheels either look like engine turbines or deadly spinning flower petals.
If you’re living in Seattle or London, those solar cells aren’t going to give you a whole lot of energy. But maybe you can just raise the panels and run on the fear of other drivers.
The eRinGo eschews the traditional car body and instead puts drivers in a giant wheel.
The vehicle has one larger central wheel, then smaller wheels on each side of the vehicle to stabilize the car while turning. It even comes with two steering wheels — presumably because it’s too difficult for one person to pilot.
The whole concept seems passable if you live in the boonies, but probably less manageable in some place with, say, other cars, such as San Francisco.
For consumers who are looking for a cheaper, in-production model of the eRinGo, we recommend finding a hill and a large tractor tire.
Here’s your chance to drive a … bubble.
Nissan’s (NSANY) Pivo line of concept cars are designed for maximum maneuverability. Like most of the other cars we’ve mentioned, the model made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. The wheels rotate 90 degrees, which probably makes doing donuts much easier.
And much like the Fun Vii, the Pivo 2 comes with a Robotic Agent, which is either an artificial intelligence assistant, or something from The Matrix. But in 2011, Nissan unveiled the redesigned Pivo 3, which is less exciting for bubble enthusiasts.
Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.