The Batmobile has always been kind of a cultural barometer, and every generation has its own. This car has become such a cultural icon that even spell-check recognizes "Batmobile" as a legitimate word — go ahead, try it. Batman’s gone through a lot of rides from his original (red?) Hudson Hornet, through to Christopher Nolan’s incredible "Tumbler" tank. It was a convertible Lincoln Futura in the psychedelic ’60s. It was a Corvette in the ’80s; and the 1990s animated series brought us a sinister streamliner said to have inspired the world-changing 2003 Cadillac Sixteen Concept. In Batman Forever — well, let’s not talk about that one.

Many cried foul when Nolan brought the Batmobile back as a sky-hopping armored tank with massive steamroller tires in 2005’s Batman Begins. But in retrospect, we can see that was just another example of The Dark Knight’s ride serving as a cultural barometer. At least, considering the number of armored vehicles that were on the news in 2005.

But times change, and the Batmobile changes with them. At the 2015 Las Vegas Licensing Expo, we got our first glimpse of the Batmobile due to appear in 2016’s Dawn of Justice. Let’s take a closer look, and see what this generation’s Batmobile might say about its time.

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The Batmobile

At first glance?

Dear GOD, that thing is freaking AWESOME!

It’s pretty well known at this point that Zack Snyder’s Batman vs Superman film won’t be a direct follow-up to Nolan’s trilogy — but you wouldn’t know it looking at his Batmobile. At first glance, it does look like a direct evoution of the Tumbler, right down to its massive rear meats, exo-skeletal wheel supports and the angular, pragmatic, stealth fighter-esque styling that we all loved so much about the Tumbler.

But where the Tumbler was always meant as a cross between a Lamborghini and a tank, this iteration looks like it could be the grandchild of the Tumbler, Keaton’s 1980s Corvette, the 1992 Animated Series Streamliner and a sand-rail dune buggy. It looks two generations removed from all of them, but with an undeniable family resemblance to all. Oh, and also, there’s a little bit of Top Fuel dragster in there, too.

Batman's New Ride Officially Unveiled — Is it a HYBRID?? Exterior Brochure - Marketing
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Put like that, this thing truly does sound like a complete mess — but somehow, it just all kind of works.


But not as amazing as its supposed specs. This Batmobile is said to be good for 205 mph. That kind of speed might seem plausible for a 7,000-pound, 21-foot-long vehicle with the aerodynamics of the Deathstar if it were powered by a massive jet engine — which all Batmobiles in the past have used. Strangely, though, a detailed examination reveals no flame-spewing jet exhaust on this version. That’s right: We may be looking at the first Batmobile in history without a jet engine.

That's right: We may be looking at the first Batmobile in history without a jet engine.

But don’t worry — that might be just a sign of something way cooler. Way more today.

This is pure conjecture, but look at that rear axle. Seem oddly familiar? I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty strongly reminiscent of the 2016 Koenigsegg Regera’s Hybrid Direct Drive transaxle to me.

You can read about it here, but here’s the gist: The gas engine connects directly to the wheels through a torque converter and open differential. On either side of the differential (one for each wheel) is a powerful electric motor. A third electric motor lay ahead of the gas engine, driving it off the front of the crankshaft.

Batman's New Ride Officially Unveiled — Is it a HYBRID?? Exterior
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At a guess, just given the overall look of the thing and the configuration of vents and components, this Batmobile is starting to look a lot more Koenigsegg than Corvette. Which might also partly explain the shape change to that of an obviously mid-engine sports car — another Batmobile first, as it happens.

That seems pretty strongly reminiscent of the Koenigsegg Regera's Hybrid Direct Drive transaxle to me.

But why guess hybrid and not fully electric? Mostly because there appears to be an exhaust outlet arching just over the transaxle. Precisely where that same exhaust outlet would be on a Regera, as it happens.

Honestly, this is just me guessing — but every generation has it’s Batmobile, right? Why rely on jet engines developed in the 1940s when you can install a powertrain from the 21st century? Seems like the Batman thing to do.

So then, past the awesome (and historically respectful) good looks, it might be fair to say one thing of this jet-less and quite possibly hybrid hero car:

It may not be the Batmobile the world wants — but it may well prove the one we need.

Batman's New Ride Officially Unveiled — Is it a HYBRID?? Exterior
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Source: archynews

Richard Rowe
Richard Rowe
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