Take a look at the latest innovations and inventions from the automotive space.
As cars become more than just basic transport, automakers are working frantically to come up with the next big thing, and this year, a lot of manufacturers have come up with innovations to make the future automobile safer, more convenient, more comfortable, more efficient, and more fun.
We've seen turbochargers revised and the internal combustion engine refined. We've seen new off-road technologies that will make overlanding safer, and we've come across scientists making cars and components more efficient than ever.
Thanks to our secret ways, CarBuzz has brought you many of these technological advances way ahead of schedule, so let's take a look at the best inventions and innovations that came to light in 2022. In no particular order, here are the best upcoming technological improvements coming to future cars.
We discovered this patent just a few weeks ago, and we couldn't help but wonder why no other automaker has come up with the idea sooner. BMW's patent application suggests that the kinetic energy created by the articulation of a vehicle's suspension should be harvested and fed back into the powertrain. With this, the slightest imperfection right through to the nastiest pothole could help your electric car go further. Of course, this energy could also be redeployed as part of a hybrid powertrain or to power electrical systems on a traditional combustion-powered car. Either way, as the industry marches towards carbon neutrality, maximizing efficiency with minimal added complexity is sure to have far-reaching benefits.
Sticking with the Bavarian brand is another discovery made by the CarBuzz team. Although manual gearboxes are becoming more scarce with each passing year, BMW is committed to offering the stick where possible, and while it's at it, the manufacturer is contemplating making this transmission type idiot-proof. A patent application filed with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office envisages a system where the channels (or gates) between gears can be guided and equipped with a locking unit to prevent a money shift or premature downshift. It's a fascinating solution that will teach newbies to drive better and can prevent catastrophic failure at the track.
Moving away from BMW but sticking with manual gearboxes, we look at something first discovered by a forum user, namely a patent that Toyota filed to make electric vehicles more engaging. In this patent, Toyota proposes simulating the feel of a gearbox through software, with a physical lever and clutch pedal connected to an electronic shift controller. The only benefit posited here is that of driver engagement, and if the Koenigsegg CC850's dual manual-and-automatic transmission is any proof, the idea has merit and may well make EVs interesting and engaging in ways we never imagined. This is not just a patent for patent's sake - Toyota will put the system into production with the Lexus LFA's successor.
While we're on the subject of making electric cars exciting, the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept arrived earlier this year to equal parts clapping and consternation. For those who fall into the former camp, the reasons for excitement are clear: a functional R-Wing improves the electric muscle car's aerodynamics, an eRupt multi-speed transmission makes acceleration fun, and the design looks both modern and respectful of Dodge's heritage.
But one of our favorite technological advances of 2022 lies in an area even more foreign to EVs than a working transmission - the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. As loud as a Hellcat at 126 decibels, the exhaust sounds surprisingly good, despite the fact that its noise comes from the amplified sounds of the electric motors. If we have shifting, vibrations, and even "engine" noise, the enthusiast's typically noted drawbacks to EVs are reduced to almost nil.
Almost exactly one year ago, BMW arrived at the Consumer Electronics Show with a new version of the iX SUV. Called the iX Flow, this concept showcased color-changing paint that can adapt based on the electrical impulses applied to its surface. The original concept was impressive enough, but BMW is not simply grabbing attention with the idea and then shelving it. Over the course of 2022, the automaker has filed to trademark various technologies using this so-called "E Ink," including transparent interior components. Unsurprisingly, E Ink was named one of TIME magazine's best inventions of the year.
BMW is returning to CES in 2023, promising even more innovation. The year ahead could be even more exciting than the last.