From the “tragically cool” department, check out Toyota Volta. The Volta uses a carbon-fiber body and seats three. In the case of Volta, the three people sit side-by-side—and get this—the “drive-by-wire” controls allow you to position the steering wheel and pedals in front any one of them.

On the Volta, a 3.3 liter V6 gas engine is located behind the rear axle and is not connected directly to the wheels. Instead, movement is provided by two electric engines, one per axle, offering the safety benefits of all-wheel drive. But the real gain of packaging a large internal combustion engine with two electric motors is rip-roaring speed: a 408 horsepower hybrid drive that can achieve 0 – 60 acceleration in 4 seconds. Despite this level of power, the fuel economy will reportedly exceed 30 miles per gallon. At low speeds, any of those three drivers can switch manually to all-electric mode.

Toyota partnered with the famed automotive design firm Italdesign-Giugiaro to create the Volta concept prototype. Italdesign-Giugiaro and Toyota were a good match in terms of technology and design, and at an historical level. The Volta draws its name from the Italian inventor Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery in 1800. Creating the hybrid concepts of the future wouldn’t be possible without the achievements of Count Volta. He certainly could never have imagined that his experiments with charges of electricity might help spark a revolution in transportation.