Crystal ball gazing

Honda have chosen Bologna to debut the FCX Clarity, the first small family series car equipped with the technology of tomorrow. A quality saloon vehicle with coupé styling and the dimensions of a Honda Accord. The revolutionary aspect of this vehicle is to be found under the bodywork: a fuel cell powertrain. The energy is supplied by hydrogen which reacts with oxygen inside the fuel cell. This in turn generates electricity which, to all intents and purposes, propels the car without any harmful emissions (just water vapour), thus creating minimal environmental impact.

Once again, it is the French who have allowed their imagination to run riot and have come up with two spectacular design studies – the crossover Citroën Hypnos and the Peugeot RC Hybrid 4 sports sedan. Unfortunately, we shouldn't have high expectations of seeing these on our roads at any time. Both may be regarded as pure 'haute couture', the Hypnos as a diesel hybrid, the RC as a petrol hybrid with a 1.6-litre turbo plus electric motor packing 313bhp and emitting a mere 109g CO2/km. The Japanese have once again created a stir with their snazzy compact concepts. For example, Nissan with the sweet, curvaceous, electrically powered Nuvu, and Toyota with the eccentrically designed Fine-T with its fuel cell. The future is a funny place.