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]