Back in the days when Australia still had a motor show, every year Ford and Holden would compete to wow crowds with a crazy new concept.
More often than not these would preview an upcoming model, however one of Holden's more fanciful creations was almost one of its most prescient.
The ECOmmodore was a joint venture between Holden and CSIRO, which aimed to demonstrate that a full-sized family sedan would be able to meet future fuel consumption and emissions targets without sacrificing performance.
However, by stretching the Monaro body over the long-wheelbase Commodore Wagon platform, Holden (probably unknowingly) foreshadowed the future trend of coupe-sedans, a full five years before Mercedes-Benz released the CLS and which would be followed by the likes of the Porsche Panamera, Audi A7 and BMW Gran Coupe series.
Underneath the ECOmmodore's bonnet the venerable 3.8-litre Ecotec V6 was replaced with a 95kW 2.0-litre four working in conjunction with a 50kW electric motor, with charge being stored in a combination of super capacitors and lead-acid batteries.
Weight reduction was achieved thanks to an embossed aluminium floor, carbon fibre and fibreglass panels, polycarbonate windows and lightweight suspension and brake components. Rolling resistance was also reduced courtesy of narrow 18-inch wheels and tyres.
The ECOmmodore made its debut during the Olympic Torch Relay for the 2000 Sydney games before going on display in the Powerhouse Museum.
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