Ever since some nerdlinger at the University of Killjoy first noticed that the environment was looking a bit peaky, he (and it will be a he) and all his Grinchy doomsayer colleagues have been going out of their way to prove a link between fun things like fast cars and foreign travel and the destruction of the world about us, just to ruin it all for us cool kids. Now, we know it’s not true, but as we’re not scientists and don’t get flown to environmental summits in far flung places such as Copenhagen and Bali, nobody listens to us, so we have to fight for our simple pleasures in other ways.
Fortunately, like all things in nature, there are also good scientists to battle our corner, meaning there’s still hope for those of us labelled self-centred, anachronistic, hedonistic planet-wreckers by Doctor Dork and chums. And those good scientists have been busy too. Think the days of hurtling around the track at stupid miles per hour are gone? Wrong! Think the world of exotic overseas travel is now firmly lodged in the past? Wrong! Think the chance to run afoul of Somalian pirates in your fancy superyacht has been hijacked forever? Wrong! We just have to do it all a bit differently now…
Seymourpowell Aircruise Concept
All this talk of global warming is a load of hot air! And it was such a low quality gag that I like to imagine was responsible for this, the world’s first flying hotel. Named the Aircruise, the day could soon come when you find yourself drifting off to foreign climes in a giant, luxurious, vertical, misshapen condom, powered by nothing but natural energy and wishes. Seems bonkers? Agreed.
The design means that weight will be a crucial concern and, therefore, only a small number of passengers will be able to travel at any gven time without it turning a bit crashy burny, but that allows the interior design to be open and flowing with ample amounts of space to enjoy and, of course, less cretins to ruin your relaxation in the bar/lounge as you float overhead like a God.
What’s more, as its all about hydrogen and not burning countless thousands of gallons of aviation fuel, the Aircruise is as harmful to the environment as slapping Swampy, so this is one less vehicle the tree-huggers can moan about.
Power supply: Hydrogen/wind
Maximum number of people: 100
Crew and staff: 20
Service ceiling: 12,000ft
Cruising speed: 100-150km/h (without tail or headwind)
London to New York: 37-hours
Low Angeles to Shanghai: 90-hours
Chances of becoming a reality: Possibly as soon as 2015. Possibly.
Tesla Roadster Sport
Already available to those with the necessary funds, I was lucky enough to experience Tesla’s Roadster Sport firsthand at the UK showroom launch in that London a year or so ago. Although sadly not behind the wheel, mostly due to the legality-questioning amount of cocktails I’d managed to consume before the main presentation.
Look at it. I defy anyone to say that this is anything less than pure sex on wheels (not in a dogging sense) – electrically powered and pumping out zero emissions, this little beauty can make the sprint from 0-60 in 3.7-seconds, tops out around 130mph, and offers a claimed range of about 221-miles when fully charged. Impressive.
Okay, so it requires electricity to run, which will, of course, involve burning some fossil fuels to generate, and how often you need to charge it will depend largely on the manner in which you drive it, but until we can find a way to power supercars using only the negative energy generated by environmentalists, it’ll just have to do.
Power supply: Three-phase electric engine
Power: 288bhp @ 4400rpm
Top speed: around 130mph
Range: 221-miles (claimed)
Chances of becoming a reality: Available now!
CT & T Multi Amphibious Vehicle
Finally, somebody’s found a decent use for a golf cart, in particular South Korean company CT & T who’ve created this seriously tasty bit of eco-kit. Firstly, it passes the Al Gore test by coming electrically powered, like any other golf cart, you might think. But, have you ever encountered a golf cart that’s not only capable of a greenkeeper-bothering 40mph on land, but can also then hit the lake/river and unleash a whopping, spine-snapping water-bound top speed of 95mph? No, you haven’t… and you’re unlikely to!
Yes, while it’s quite obviously a massive case of press release misprint to the tune of a decimal point and 9.5mph seems far more plausible, the idea of accelerating to just shy of 100mph in a four seater milk float is just too hilarious to allow ‘fact’ to get in the way, so you read correctly 95mph. Mental…
Power supply: Rechargeable battery (no further info)
Top speed land: 40mph
Top speed water: 95mph (9.5 in boring reality)
Other spec: Unknown due to colossal lack of info
Chances of becoming a reality: Vague at best
Massaud Manned Cloud
The designer of this second airship-based option for the future of travel, Jean-Marie Massaud, decided to call it the Manned Cloud on the grounds that he thought it looked like a cloud… and it’s manned. However, I can’t help but think ‘Sky Whale’ or the ‘Lofty Leviathan’ would have been far more suitable and exciting names? But maybe that’s just me.
In any event, what’s planned here is another floating luxury hotel, with 20 rooms accommodating 40 guests and 15 staff, and a restaurant, bookshop, fitness studio/spa, sun deck and bar to keep inhabitants occupied.
But why another airship hotel? Well, because of its eco-friendly credentials that, says Massaud spokeswoman Aurelie Ullrich, will allow “landscapes to be enjoyed from above rather than being disfigured or damaged by tourist infrastructure.” Which is a fair point, especially given my own scorched-earth approach to tourism – I see it, I burn it. Although I still think Sky Whale would have been far cooler…
Power supply: Compressed helium/wind
Maximum number of people: 55
Crew and staff: 15
Service ceiling: 12,000ft
Top speed: 170km/h
Crusing speed: 130km/h
Maximum range: 5000k before refuelling
Chances of becoming a reality: Launch planned for 2020 (in investors can be found)
Future Vehicle Technologies eVaro
Looking every bit like someone’s just lopped the cockpit of a fighter jet off and added wheels and headlights, the eVaro hybrid is nothing short of a work of absolute automotive genius. First of, it’s a serial hybrid, so not only can you plug it in and expect 100-125-mile electric-only range a 0-60 shift in just 5-seconds, and a top speed of 135mph, it also comes armed with an onboard gas generator that extends the range to an unlimited degree!
Pretty much useless for the school run or for getting the shopping back from Waitrose, it’s also not great with speed bumps, but when you consider that, as a three-wheeler, this is the natural successor to the duckegg-blue AC Invacar that used to be such a common feature on its side in roadside ditches up and down the country, you can’t fail but be inpressed.
Power supply: Rechargeable battery with FVT custom on-board high voltage generator
Top speed: 135mph
Range: 100-125-miles electric, unlimited with generator
Chances of becoming a reality: still in development
Hawkes Ocean Technologies DeepFlight Merlin
Diving into the realms of Stingray now, the DeepFlight Merlin may look a little wacky, but it’s the product of minds immeasurably superior to most. A positively buoyant open-cockpit submersible, the genius here lies in the fact that a) it’s electric and b) unlike any sub before it, it has wings, a flight and navigation computer, and is operated by controlling pitch, roll and yaw (just like a plane) with a throttle level for forward and reverse thrust. This of course makes it incredibly manoeuvrable, so add that to a top speed of up to 6-knots, a cruise speed of 2.5 and a dive depth of 30-metres and you’ve got the underwater transport of the future… and possibly of some ultra-rich Bond villain-type.
Speaking of which, Richard Branson purchased the first one, now named the Necker Nymph, service of which is offered as an optional extra for those staying aboard his luxury catamaran, the Necker Belle for an additional US $25,000 per week. Oh, and I meant the ‘ultra-rich’ part, Richard, not the ‘Bond villain’ bit. Please don’t set your genetically altered goons on me.
Life support comes courtesy of built-in air tanks and regulators which, combined with a full battery should deliver up to 5-hours of eco-friendly sub-aqua exploration. Then there’s the coolness factor, which is completely off the Fonzie Scale…
Power supply: Rechargeable battery (Lithium phosphate)
Depth rating: 30m (as per scuba limits)
Maximum number of people: Three
Instrumentation: Heads-up Display
Top speed: 6-knots
Cruising speed: 2.5-knots
Life support: 6x 80cf scuba tanks with 3x back-up
Battery life: around 5-hours
And there you have it. The way things are going at the moment, until we discover oil on the moon, things in the transport world are all heading this way. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with an idea so seemingly insane it is, in fact, brilliant. And I just so happen to have one… Where does oil come from? I mean, originally? That’s right: dinosaurs. Now remember Jurassic Park? Of course you do. Now think about the incredible advancements science has made in genetics in recent years. All we need to do is use genetic sequencing to recreate dinosaurs, modified to grow at vastly increased rates until ripe, then ‘harvest’ them, apply vast amounts of heat and pressure and – piff, paff, puff – we’re making our own oil without all that hanging around for millions of years. Simple, eh? Naturally, I’ll need to check the science, but stay tuned.