The independently sprung caterpillar tracks are only the start of it.
We've featured quite a few extraordinary 4x4 concepts from design students around the world. For instance, we've seen what a future Kamaz Dakar buggy may look like, and who else here remembers the awesomeness that was the Range Rover supercar? As creative and as bold as those concept cars are, however, we think they've been well and truly pipped by this truly unique all-terrain vehicle by Carlos Bueno. It's called the Volkswagen Rootech, and we guarantee you it's like nothing else you've ever seen before.
It's not the caterpillar tracks that make the Volkswagen Rootech unique. As we've seen before (mainly from either Ken Block or the snow-swept regions of Russia), fitting them to cars in place of conventional wheels and tires isn't a new thing. Likewise, hydrogen powertrains like the one featured on the Rootech are now in a handful of production cars, and amphibious cars have been around in one form or another for most of the automobile's life. It's the way the Rootech is able to acquire the hydrogen it needs for its fuel cells that's the really clever bit. By using "genetically modified roots" stowed behind the passenger cell, the Rootech can extract hydrogen from the water in aquatic environments and store it for propulsion use on dry land.
We've no idea how such a system would work (assuming it's possible to begin with!), and we'd love to know the chain of events that lead to Carlos Bueno coming up with that solution. But there's no denying that he was thinking way outside of the box with the whole modified roots system. So, however impractical and impossible it may be with today's technology, you've got to give the guy credit fo conjuring up such an odd ball system to power his equally unusual off-roader!