Click above for more shots of the Lotus Eco Elise concept

Toyota's Prius has always been a love-it or hate-it design, and as it was restyled in 2002, the machine took its now iconic shape to even further extremes. To many a car designer's surprise, its polarizing styling has found plenty of buyers. In fact, many now contribute a large portion of the Prius' success to its unique and easily identifiable 'green' look. With that in mind, auto stylists have become more interested than ever in eco design, with green aesthetics and building materials now seen as being just as important as the green powerplant underhood.

Alec Moran, a student at the Créapôle design school in Paris, has gone so far as to design an electric car with a chassis made of bamboo that's reinforced with spiders' silk and plant resin. A bit closer to reality are composite bioplastics and eco-friendly fabrics, as seen on the recent Lotus Eco Elise concept which will be shown later this month in London. Another example of innovative green thinking is Ford's soy-based seat foam.

[Source: NY Times]

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