A new Mazda RX-9 concept car from James Owens designs has some impressive technical specifications, but it looks like it lost a fight with a car crusher. It was the winner of the Michelin Design Challenge for this year and features a 2.5L V6 and a wafer-thin electric motor, but it’s some innovations in pursuit of fuel efficiency that really make it interesting.
The odd looking skin of the car features electrostatic collectors which collect the electrical charges that build up on a car when it is driving through dry air. That electricity, along with the power created by regenerative braking, feeds the hybrid engine. The tires are the other unique aspect. They feature Electroactive Polymers, or E.A.P., which let the tires change the shape and depth of the tread pattern as you drive in response to environmental conditions. You can go from the ultimate off-road knobby monsters to racing-type slicks automatically. The right tire for the right conditions boosts both safety and efficiency.