• Apr 13, 2010

Ye Zi "Leaf" concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

With the start of the Beijing Auto Show a little over a week away, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), has unveiled their new "Ye Zi" concept. "Ye Zi" literally means "leaf." Whereas Nissan named their upcoming electric vehicle "Leaf" as a nod to its seemingly gentle impact on the environment, SAIC named its concept "Leaf" because the car gathers energy from the world around it much in the same way a leafy plant does. Oh yeah, and because it's shaped like a leaf.

Sure, it looks like something Fred Flintstone would drive to a Widespread Panic concert, but the Ye Zi brings unconventional innovation to its similarly unconventional styling. SAIC is pitching the vehicle not as a zero-emission vehicle but as a "negative emission" vehicle. The giant leaf on the roof is made up of photovoltaic units that adjust positions to follow the sun and the green blades on the wheels are tiny wind generators. Of course, the sparse distribution of photovoltaic cells means they won't actually do much. Similarly, the wind turbines on the wheels are facing the wrong direction to be useful and will likely generate more aerodynamic drag than energy.

And then there's the frame.

The Leaf's has a CO2-absorbing body. Its metal-organic framework (MOF) imitates photosynthesis, absorbing CO2 and water to generate an electric current and oxygen.

Now, we're not sure if the negative emissions claim takes into account life-cycle emissions from production processes (not likely), but it's still a cool idea. The bigger question is, how do you classify this thing? A "negative emission vehicle can't be an NEV because NEV already stands for neighborhood electric vehicle. How about we just call it crazy? Thanks to The Analyst for sending this in!

[Source: China Car Forums]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 8 Hours Ago
      Apparently the article make mention of "its metal-organic framework (MOF) imitates photosynthesis, absorbing CO2 and water to generate an electric current and oxygen."

      If it absorbs CO2 (an EPA regarded emission), then it can be "negative emissions".

      ---------------------------

      But you always must look at the dark side of these so called miracles.

      The energy required to remove the CO2 from the material or create new material is no doubt more than what is saved. Nature has sort of a balance to it. And the laws of thermodynamics say entropy will increase (you can lower entropy in a system ONLY by increasing it somewhere else by equal or more).

      My guess is that the material quickly gets saturated and is not sustainable nor reusable. Just like CO2 scrubbers used for almost 50 years.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is correct! ""Well actually they signed the Kyoto protocol many moons ago and just mandated that everyone use electricity from renewable resources out there, so they are already there. The United States on the other hand...""

      Most people don't know that, or don't care.

      Me, I LOVE THIS LITTLE CAR! The next MG Midget?
      • 8 Hours Ago
      I read the article and I still don't get the 'negative emissions' part. I must be mistaken. Who am I to question their claims.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Apparently the article make mention of "its metal-organic framework (MOF) imitates photosynthesis, absorbing CO2 and water to generate an electric current and oxygen."

        If it absorbs CO2 (an EPA regarded emission), then it can be "negative emissions".

        ---------------------------

        But you always must look at the dark side of these so called miracles.

        The energy required to remove the CO2 from the material or create new material is no doubt more than what is saved. Nature has sort of a balance to it. And the laws of thermodynamics say entropy will increase (you can lower entropy in a system ONLY by increasing it somewhere else by equal or more).

        My guess is that the material quickly gets saturated and is not sustainable nor reusable. Just like CO2 scrubbers used for almost 50 years.
      • 8 Hours Ago
      "Similarly, the wind turbines on the wheels are facing the wrong direction to be useful and will likely generate more aerodynamic drag than energy."

      The writer doesn't seem to understand that the turbines would create more drag than electricity if they faced forward--the only way they might possibly efficiently add power while the vehicle is moving forward or in reverse would be for the turbines to be placed as they are.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        They ALWAYS create more drag than electricity.... that is how energy works. It cannot be created nor destroyed. The maximum energy that can be obtained from moving air is equal to the energy to overcome drag. Regardless of direction.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        It's possible that the car uses said wind turbines when it's stationary.

        I am guessing that as engineers they would know the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
      • 8 Hours Ago
      Why are you assuming the wheel vents are meant to be ram-air chargers and not designed to create a reverse flow from the venturi of air passing over them - thereby cutting down problems with clearing debri which would be sucked into a ram-air system?

      I mean.. sure it is concept and looks silly and impractical but then so many concepts do.
      It also isn't new for a concept to claim eventual capability which seems far fetched at best.
      But I think sitting 10,000 miles away and judging from a pic and a few sentences that is all utter BS and obviously flawed is pretty arrogant on our part.

      We all know China, and Chinese products, can be the subject of lots of issues.
      To dismiss them as incapable though, on all fronts, would be a serious miscalculation on our part I think.
      • 8 Hours Ago
      To the article's author: You don't need the blades of a turbine to be "facing" the wind to recover energy. Think of a helicopter. Just thought I'd give you a little tip for your next article.
      • 8 Hours Ago
      Flintstones -- meet the Flintstones -- they're a modern stone age family...
      • 8 Hours Ago
      It's a small mind that thinks a car should only have low impact while driving. The wheel wind generators do not provide energy while driving, but when parked, and facing the proper direction, could provide power. an ultra light carbon fiber cap could be placed over them during driving to avoid drag. As for the minimal amount of electricity generated by the solar panels and wind turbines, what does any other car generate when parked? Nothing!
        • 8 Hours Ago
        You are getting warmer..But first.."Flintstones -- meet the Flintstones -- they're a modern stone age family..""". Thats what it is! Derrr! I was thinking Model T or MGTF, but this is cute. If it cost $8000, went 35mph for 30 miles...and you could lock it, many people might buy one as the second car. Ie, a fancy golf cart, but hey, thats ok. Thats where our "small minds" come in. We are only human, some people think I have flaws too, well they are right.

        Why on Earth do most people, including Auto Execs and Gov't Officials, think Ecars need an 85mph top speed and 150 mile range? Sure, that is fantasy land, like my jetpack, flying car, or nuclear powered house (actually, thats not so ridiculous, with a "pea-sized" bit of plutonium in a 55gal lead-lined drum of water, you could heat your house for 800 years, think of it as a futuristic fireplace).

        As per spinners on the wheels, that mo faux crazy, windmills need to be 30ft high or so. Unless...drumroll please, you are reading it here first...A SKIRT EXTENDS TO THE GROUND FUNNELING COOL AIR UP THROUGH THE WARM VEHICLE (windows, engines, batteries, radiators, etc) and out through a ducted fan generator. There is your windmill for parked cars.

        How do the Flintstones fit in all this? The sweat from scooting your feet cools the vehicle to draw the air into the ducted generator. I'm hoping the Chinese run with this interpretation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another designer that needs to take a science course.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        This design wont ever see practical use.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        According to the original article, IIRC, this concept wouldn't see practical use in 20 years.

        It is what it is, a "concept".
      • 8 Hours Ago
      It's got Spinners!!!

      What's not to like about Spinners?

      If you created a million of these, parked them all in a windy dessert, wired them together, you could power a Plug in Prius. Genius.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Mad gangsta cred!!!
      • 8 Hours Ago
      Tron wheels are very cool too.
      • 8 Hours Ago
      It nets negative emissions because it runs off fairy dust! Or is that a ZPM sticking out of the glove box?!?
    • Load More Comments