What vehicle architecture is most appropriate for global markets in the 21st century? Jim Kor, designer of the futuristic Urbee car shares his One Great Idea for changing the future of automotive transport. 

Kor presented his vision at the State of Green Business Forum in Chicago, laying out how sustainable design for transport can change the world.

According to Kor, the solution resides in sustainable design, which is why he designed Urbee in 1996. Cars nowadays have big grills and exhaust pipes, Kor said.

"Think the total opposite of a typical car and you're getting close to what we are talking about here, which is a low energy car," Kor said.

The Urbee car was designed using existing technologies and with the idea that cars should be easy to understand, maintain, repair and rebuild after a long life, he noted. Kor likened the Urbee to a Model T of the 21st century, or "the Volkswagen Beatle with emission and safety improvements," he said.

Urbee runs on energy from sunlight that hits solar panels on land or on a garage, as well as ethanol. The car would need to be plugged in to tap into the sun's energy source.

"It would be like winning fuel for life," he said.