Alternative energy concept cars are big news right now. Whether it's electric power or hydrogen propulsion, manufacturers old and start-ups new are producing design-led concepts aimed at luring us away from the venerable attractions of the internal combustion engine that's served us so well for well over 100 years. Hail, then, the future with these three forward-looking electric concepts.
Nice, isn't it? If the EL1 from German start-up E-Legend looks vaguely familiar, that's because this fully electric machine is a tribute to Audi's original all-conquering Quattro rally car. Endearingly, E-Legend describe their aggressively styled creation as a "retrofuturistic full electric supercar" which just about covers all the bases.
Power comes from no less than three electric motors, with a maximum output of a startling 806 bhp taking the EL1 to 60 mph in a supercar-beating 2.8 seconds. The company says the goal is to "transfer analogue primal instincts of emotional driving into the modern world". Those looks are a good start but the price, around £900,000, surely means the EL1 is destined for high-end collectors only. Just 30 will be made, so at least you're unlikely to have another pull up next to you in the motorway charging bays.
Only teaser photographs and spy snaps of heavily disguised test mules are available so far, but make no mistake the first BEV - battery electric vehicle - from Lincoln, Ford's high-end luxury brand in the United States, will be a mass production game changer. Lincoln's stock-in-trade is what the Americans call full-size SUVs so electric propulsion, given battery size and heft, will be a challenge. Since Ford are already ahead in the electric game with the Mustang Mach-E, expectations are high.
Set to arrive next year for the 2023 model year, Lincoln's first BEV will herald a makeover of the entire range with Lincoln saying they plan to electrify all models offered by 2030. This first model will be followed by three more, the company says, on a bespoke new platform allowing for rear or all wheel drive. On exterior appearance, the company says: "Lincoln’s new digital design language – Constellation – includes exclusive themes showcasing the night sky". Aiming for the stars, you might say.
Meet the French luxury saloon without the guilt. Paris-based Hopium, founded by Le Mans class winner Olivier Lombard, are pinning their hopes on the further adoption of hydrogen as the emissions-free fuel of the future. Hydrogen has long been the holy grail of personal vehicle propulsion. Hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, with water vapour the only exhuast gas. There's none of the environmental concerns of the origins of the electricity used to charge the batteries of a BEV and filling time is estimated by Hopium at a mere three minutes, thrashing even the fastest BEV charge-times.
Lombard is aiming at a hydrogen-powered Le Mans entry in 2024 and in the meantime offers the sleek styling of the Māchina, set to be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and capable of 620 miles before refuelling, a range it will need given the scarcity of hydrogen filling stations, a mere dozen or so in the UK. Hopium say they have 1,000 pre-orders already from potential owners eager to experience the Māchina's 500 bhp and potential 143 mph top speed. Pricing starts at £103,000, and if this is the future of the future, sign us up.