Wikispeed has taken a more traditional approach to powering a car, but they're doing remarkable things with it.
The Denver company brought the SGT02 to the show. It can hold four people safely and runs on gasoline power. According to WikiSpeed founder Joe Justice, while the car has just a four-gallon tank, each gallon powers the car for 100 miles.
That is, if the driver doesn't go faster than 67 mph.
The outstanding mileage is probably possible because the car is only 1,400 lbs, about one-third the weight of the Toyota Prius hybrid and twice as light as the Suzuki SX4.
By the way, the Suzuki gets 26 mpg. At 50 mpg, the Prius is almost two times better than the Suzuki, but only half as good as the SGT02.
And what if you want a sedan instead of the supercar on display? Wikispeed can build it for you. But what if 10 years down the line, you decide you want the supercar after all? Well, Justice says that's no problem.
"Since the body is built with modular parts, we can change the entire vehicle without having to alter the chassis," he said.
One of the most surprising claims Justice made was that they had managed to go from design to concept vehicle in three days -- and they built an entire body out of carbon fiber for only $1,000 per module. Carbon fiber is a light material that is typically used for the bodies of racecars and on the priciest supercars.
There's no doubt Justice and his team have some work to do on the SGT02, but for now, the company will start selling Michigan-built kits that cost $28,886. If they receive more than 250 orders, they can start to reduce the cost, eventually bringing it down to their ideal price of $17,995.
While the auto industry may be in the beginning stages of commercializing extended range electric and ultra efficient vehicles, the presence of these start-ups is a reminder of the true spirit of the Detroit auto show: Some companies are still building mind-boggling, revolutionary cars because they can.