6 awesome car technologies that never went mainstream


Posted by: Okenwa Emeka

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As brilliant as they seem, these 5 awesome car technologies never got to stay. Check their designs and see why they couldn't be produced in mass!

We love it when engineers come up with innovations but as brilliant as they might seem, sometimes, they don’t just catch on. So, here are the clever, bizarre and downright fiction awesome car technologies that never went mainstream, collected by Naijauto.com!

1. GullWing Doors

GullWing doors have been around for decades and as much as car makers like Mercedes, Delorian, and Tesla have tried to make them a thing, there are too many drawbacks such as safety in a rollover crash or exiting from a tight space. The Tesla model XS falcon doors go some way to addressing that but given the fact that their complexity contributed to car’s lengthy delay in reaching the market, we doubt all the manufacturers will be falling over themselves to fit them to their cars.


This innovation would have required a full field of car park space when all doors are flung open

2. Turbine Engines

The biggest turbine car pioneer was Chrysler in the 50s and 60s. That is until the government pulled the plug on the program after it gave them manufacturer money to survive. The issues it was trying to overcome at the time included high fuel usage, the fact that they were expensive to make and that throttle response was too slow. With Chrysler no longer working to overcome these drawbacks and no other manufacturer’s taking turbine engine seriously, the technology remains the reserve of science fiction futures.


Chrysler pioneered the turbine engines in the 50s and 60s, unfortunately, this innovation didn't stand the test of time

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3. Bose Suspension

Bose, the company that designs and sells audio equipment came up with an incredible electromagnetic suspension technology that kept the car perfectly leveled. Almost as if it were flying above the ground, no matter the road surface. It was a breakthrough in comfort but a commercial failure because the system was too heavy and too expensive for commercial viability. Parts of the technology did benefit truckers, however. Thanks to Bose ride that was installed in their seats for added comfort.

4. Small, Electric, Inter-City Transport

This is epitomized by the Syncline C5. The idea was to create a small electric alternative to driving a car. An idea that’s arguably more relevant today than ever before but one which had never really caught on.

The problem with the C5 was that it was barely any more useful than a bicycle and at around €900 in today’s money, a lot more expensive. It was just as unsafe as a bike. Offered no extra weatherproofing and also had a terrible range and a fast draining battery. All but the range problem could still be levied at the Rheno Tweazy. Probably the best example of such a vehicle today. Now, sure, the tweazy is fun and all but when you consider that they’re too wide for lane spacing and the fact that they cost nearly €7,000 new, they’re hard to justify. If this sort of thing is ever going to take off, the price needs to come down drastically.

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5. Rocket Brakes

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why this one didn’t catch on. I mean, rockets for brakes? But early test found that they offer an impressive 2G of stopping force. The downside, in the event of a fire, the propellant would burn as fast as several gallons of petrol, which isn’t ideal. Unsurprisingly, these rocket brakes were considered a little less risky.


Tesla is planning to relaunch the rocket brakes with its new Roadster models

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6. Steam Engines

When you think of steam engines, you probably think of trains but you might be surprised to learn that in the early days of the automobile, steam, and fossil fuel powered engines were neck-a-neck to become the norm. The main issues with steam engines were the fact that they were big, heavy and slow. Internal combustion engines, by contrast, were smaller and easier to maintain so, the steam thing never really caught on once cars entered mass production.

Amazing innovations from great minds these are. Sadly not much could be said about them now. However, with personal demand, some of these features can be fitted into your car but they have to follow the Automobile guidelines of the city where you reside. 

If you enjoyed reading these 6 awesome car technologies that never went mainstream, Naijauto.com always keeps you up to date with the latest news in the automobile industry!

>>> Also visit Cutting-edge tech trends to catch up with latest auto technologies!

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Okenwa Emeka

Okenwa Emeka


Okenwa Emeka is a prolific writer who combines his content creation skills with a strong passion for automobiles to make engaging articles for Naija car lovers. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CAM with a diploma in digital marketing. 

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