Posted: May 17, 2013 at 5:24 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Some 43 cars were considered for the award, this selection being reduced to a shortlist by an advisory panel of design experts before final consideration by the 66 World Car of the Year jury members
There’s a red hot new Jag in town, and it appears as though everyone is taking notice of its arrival. Since making its debut at the Paris Auto Show last year, Jaguar’s F-Type has periodically made headlines, the most recent of which was turning into Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the year, Raquel Pomplun’s toy for an entire year (Watch : Playboy Playmate of the Year gets Jaguar F-type).
Not a bad set of wheels for the Latina beauty considering it’s just won this year’s World Car Design of the Year. A very big deal if you take into account the fact that Jaguar’s new sportscar looking as gorgeous as it does, went head to head with some 43 other prospects before being reduced to a shortlist by an advisory panel of design experts, who then deemed it worthy of the such honour.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar was notably elated at the announcement and said, “No design project has given me greater pleasure than the creation of the F-Type. It’s a project I’ve looked forward to from the moment I joined Jaguar, and it’s one that’s given my team and I great satisfaction.”
“The F-Type is a sports car that is true to Jaguar’s design values – beauty of line and purity of form – and I’m honoured that the World Car of the Year jury has recognised our work with this award,” he added.
The two-seater sports car with its long wheelbase, short overhangs and flared fenders is an evocative and progressive design and is very much on par with Jaguar’s own elegance and style. The first full-blooded Jaguar sports car to be launched for more than 50 years, the F-Type could only be a Jaguar – ‘Callum unfiltered’, as it is called in-house.
Article source: http://www.zigwheels.com/news-features/news/jaguar-ftype-awarded-2013-world-car-design-of-the-year/16375/
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 4:50 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
We live inside our cars, but did you know that interior designers are working with car manufacturers?
//info bar setup
var $info =jQuery(‘#player_info_contentl664311_1′);
var $content = jQuery(‘div’,$info);
var min = $content.css(‘min-height’);
var max = $content.css(‘max-height’);
Having a good engine and an attractive outer appearance isn’t the only reason people are purchasing specific vehicles.
One important reason is a good car interior design. We live inside our cars not outside. The driving comfort is only one small factor in the selection of a car; its interior design, color, how it makes you feel, technology, textures, sound system and luxury features are also huge factors. Here are the hot trends for 2013 from the top of luxury.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport – The cabin in this model features three different colors of leather along with wood and aluminum trims.
Mercedes CLA45 AMG – Red seat stitching, red seatbelts, and red air vents enhance the car’s interior. Carbon-fiber trim adorns the dashboard, and AMG’s unusually shaped shifter stands atop the center console. The bucket seats are wrapped in a blend of Artico and Dinamica leathers.
Audi A8L- This car offers the ultimate in luxury; with massaging as well as seats, heater and cooler all with real walnut wood trim, and premium leather seating. The A8 also come with Audi Connect, which makes your car a Wi-Fi hot spot with the ability to connect multiple types of electronics. Listen through Bang Olfusen 3D speakers, which makes you feel like you are at a live concert.
Bentley Mulsanne – Designed and built to offer Grand Touring, handcrafted luxury coupled with immense power and sportiness, the Bentley Mulsanne offers one of the world’s most exclusive driving experiences. For 2013, the Mulsanne is more luxurious than ever, with new features such as a large, tilt-opening, tinted glass sunroof and an electrically operated bottle cooler with hand-blown and hand-cut lead crystal champagne flutes. All hand-stitched top quality leather, real wood and nothing but the best.
Cadillac XTS – Experience Cadillac’s platinum collection. Perforated Opus full-leather seats are renowned for their supple feel. Also check out the highly polished premium wood trim and a luxurious microfiber sueded headliner, which frames the expansive UltraView sunroof. With CUE, the Cadillac User Experience, pair up to ten Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and effortlessly access all your contacts and wirelessly stream music or place a call or select a song on command with Natural Voice Recognition.
Connectivity and infotainment is shaping the vehicle interior and the in-car experience. It’s about making your vehicle a place to connect to the outside world and have all the comforts of home at the same time. With speak-to-text becoming a part of the future, even Ford and Hyundai are currently producing this type of system.
Although the outside of a vehicle is important, the inside is where you drive and experience your automobile.
Article source: http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/living/664311/hot-trends-for-car-interior-design/?ap=1&MP4
Posted: May 13, 2013 at 4:34 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Following its tradition of showcasing future concepts at the Worthersee Festival, German auto major Volkswagen has now put up the race car ‘Design Vision GTI’ at the event, which promises to produce 503bhp. The striking “Design Vision GTI” is based on the seventh-generation GTI. The design team, led by Klaus Bischoff (Head of Design of Volkswagen Brand), has drawn the C-pillars and sills outward as autonomous body elements, thus creating space for substantially wider front and rear tracks, as well as specially developed 20-inch wheels (with 235 tires in the front and 275s at the rear). The “Design Vision GTI” can reach a top speed of 300kmph and looks as if it could start racing tomorrow.
Although the new GTI has plenty of power in standard form, with up to 230bhp available on the Performance model, the “Design Vision GTI” ups the ante with 503bhp, developed at 6500rpm. Just like the engine in the regular GTI, the concept car has a turbocharged and direct – injection TSI engine — in this case, a 3.0-liter V6 instead of a 2.0-litre four cylinder, using twin turbochargers. Two three-way catalytic converters are arranged close to the engine to optimize emissions behavior. The V6 TSI develops 369 pound-feet of torque from as low as 2000rpm, with a maximum figure of 560Nm at 4000rpm.
All this power and torque is distributed to the wheels via a DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system. With this powertrain and a specially tuned chassis, the “Design Vision GTI” eats any type of racetrack. On a dragstrip, it will reach 100kmph from a standstill in an impressive 3.9 seconds
In order to slow this super-powerful GTI, Volkswagen fitted it with large carbon-ceramic brake discs, sized 15.0 inches up front and 14.0 inches at the back. The ceramic brake discs and red-painted brake calipers peek through the spokes of the 20-inch alloy wheels, which are 8.5J wide at the front and 9.5J at the back. The “Design Vision GTI” wheels, derived from the “Austin” GTI design, feature integrated blades that are designed to vent hot brake gas through the wheel openings. The wheel bolts are covered to give the appearance of a center-lock design.
Explaing the design of the car Klaus Bischoff says, “Our claim to be a global player is enhanced with our universal design language. A design that immediately communicates the brand’s identity is central for all models that carry the VW logo, with elements that allow each model to be recognized as a true Volkswagen by its distinctive design.”
Developing a show car for the GTI meeting at Wörthersee is always a great opportunity to package extreme ideas and a lot of emotion. Klaus Bischoff says: “The design team’s brief was to give a spectacular glance into the future of the GTI.” Marc Lichte, Andreas Mindt, and Philipp Römers, the same team who developed the latest Golf and the new GTI, also collaborated in the development of the “Design Vision GTI”, breathing the charisma of a race car into the concept.
The C-pillar, which has always been a distinctive Golf and GTI feature, is drawn outward as an autonomous design element, while the main part of the body narrows strongly towards the rear. This process starts right behind the front wheel with a vertical air outlet that emphasizes the waisted doors. In parallel to that, the sill grows continually outward until its upper edge merges with the C pillar — a styling device that gives this GTI a very dramatic look.
The GTI concept’s front end is similarly sculptural. The radiator grille, the bottom air inlet, and the brake cooling vents are combined with the headlights and framed by the front fenders and the hood. The precision and straightforwardness of the lines follow the Volkswagen design DNA. The grille and air inlets — although re-interpreted — consciously underscore their relation to the production GTI’s. The so-called “blades” are an especially prominent detail.
The GTI’s typical red line divides the headlights of the “Design Vision GTI” horizontally. The actual lighting elements are set back, giving the “eyes” depth — an innovative variation of the “evil eye” popular with GTI customizers. Like the front end, an all-round sharp edge is a consistent feature at the rear. The taillights straddle the space between the C-pillars and the rear deck, while the integrated rear spoiler has the same position as the production GTI’s. At the bottom of the car, the dominant elements are the aerodynamically conceived ribs of the rear diffuser and the exhaust tips that frame the assembly.
Article source: http://www.cardekho.com/india-car-news/volkswagen-unveils-design-vision-gti-race-car-at-worthersee-10325.htm
Posted: May 9, 2013 at 3:52 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
(USA Today) — Even though its first flying car is still at least two years away, a Massachusetts aerospace firm has unveiled a new design for a future product after that, one more akin to a helicopter than a plane.
Like its winged Transition flying car, its first product that is now scheduled for delivery in 2015, Terrafugia’s TF-X would drive like a car on the ground, then take to the air like a plane. But instead of requiring drivers to find a runway, they could merely head to the local helipad — or a parking lot — and take off using tilt-rotor technology.
The car would lift off nearly vertically using propellers on its stubby wings. The props would then rotate from a vertical to a horizontal position for regular flight. It’s the same kind of technology that is found in the Marines’ V-22 Osprey, a transport now in common use, though it got off to rocky start with a series of accidents during development. Plans are for it to use a “plug-in hybrid electric” powerplant.
“We felt this was our time to share our vision of the future,” says Richard Gersh, vice president of business development for Terrafugia, based in Woburn, Mass. Though the new flying car design isn’t likely to take off for another decade, “if you don’t start today, it won’t happen.”
Already, Terrafugia has gotten further than a raft of others either dreaming or designing a vehicle that can be both driven on streets and flown from airports. The Transition, a car with wings that fold into its sides, has gone through two design phases and is about to go through another. The current prototype now has 50 hours of flight time and “quite a bit of driving on the ground,” Gersh says.
But even though the company says it has more than 100 orders and has pushed back delivery dates, he says another generation is in the works to make further improvements before any can be delivered. Complicating the process: The driveable plane has to meet the stringent safety requirements for both an aircraft and a car.
The Transition still has a price tag of $279,000.
Observers say the new craft appears to incorporate lessons from Terrafugia’s participation in a Defense Department project to develop a flying Army jeep a couple of years ago. The tilt-rotor concept will be complicated because of both the added cost of creating such a craft and dealing with the takeoff noise, says John Brown, editor of the Roadable Times, which keeps tabs on the quest to build a flying car. While the idea might easily be written off as pie-in-the-sky, he says Terrafugia can’t be written off.
“I would caution anyone from saying this is science fiction,” Brown says. “They have a track record of doing what they say. We need to take this seriously.”
Likewise, Paul Moller, whose Moller International has worked for years to bring a flying car to production, says he knows the difficulties of building the new design, but that Terrafugia is a “pretty impressive” company that might be able to pull it off.
But Gersh says breakthroughs in both materials and technology make the concept possible. Carbon-fiber for the skin is both lighter and stronger than metals. Engines are becoming more compact and powerful. The TF-X is the “next logical progression” and the company’s engineers — it has 22 employees, about half of whom are engineers — will be able to turn to its development as they finish up work on the Transition.
“You’ve got to be looking forward,” he says.
Article source: http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/258402/158/Terrafugias-Flying-Car-Design-Evolves
Posted: May 7, 2013 at 3:18 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
More than ever, designing cars people want is a tricky business.
Rapidly developing technology, changing demographics, emerging global markets and stricter fuel efficiency standards have forced automakers to rethink how they design cars and conduct consumer research, top automotive executives said today at the SAE 2013 World Congress in Detroit.
“You can’t use traditional research methods to ask a customer ‘do you like this or do you like that,’” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai vice president of corporate planning and product strategy.
Instead, O’Brien said automakers must ask consumers about the forces changing their lives.
For instance, O’Brien said Hyundai had to do research a few years ago to decide if it really was going to drop traditional V6 engines for its midsize sedans in favor of only four-cylinder engines. The question was hard to research since it had never been tried before.
“It was a big risk, but the sales speak for themselves,” O’Brien said.
Ralph Gilles, senior vice president of design for Chrysler, also said the changing demographics are changing how automakers design cars.
Millennials, generally those born between 1980 and 2000, have been hard for automakers to reach, partially because they have vastly different expectations for cars and transportation than their parents.
But Gilles said he thinks millennials are often misunderstood.
“Everyone says they don’t like cars,” Gilles said. “Maybe. But I don’t buy that. They just don’t need cars right now.”
Another assumption that Gilles challenged is that Americans prefer large cars.
In 2012, sales of small and compact cars increased 27% in the U.S. compared with 13% for the overall industry.
“I think small is the next big thing. I think small cars are finally here,” Gilles said.
Article source: http://www.freep.com/article/20130416/BUSINESS0103/304160135/1206/BUSINESS01/Younger-consumers-forcing-changes-car-design
Posted: May 5, 2013 at 3:09 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Western Washington University’s Society of Automotive Engineers has been building an entirely new car design to compete in the Baja 2013 International Car Design Competition May 16-19, hosted by Western’s chapter at the Hannegan Speedway in Bellingham.
The team will be running their first driving tests with the car this weekend.
The Baja team, a Western club founded in 1999, gives members the chance to build and race an off-road vehicle through the Society of Automotive Engineers competitions.
“Before this year, none of us have really been around when the team has built a car from the ground up,” said team manufacturing director Derek Seabrook.
“At first we were like, ‘Ah, we don’t really know what we’re doing.’”
The biggest change in the new car is the size and weight.
The new car, formally called Viking 52, is more than 50 pounds lighter than last year’s car, weighing in at about 390 pounds.
Despite starting with a new design this year, Seabrook said he sees promise in it.
“I’m expecting it to do well,” Seabrook said. “It’s smaller but it looks burly and it looks mean. We’ll definitely be able to hit everything full throttle like we usually do.”
Patrick McLean, manufacturing engineering technology major and team captain, said he will wait to see what happens during testing.
“I’m mostly optimistic,” McLean said. “I don’t know how it’s going to handle. I don’t see any obvious weak spots, which is good, but it’s better to be able to predict where it’s going to fail.”
Derek Stout, the chassis and suspension designer who pushed for the smaller design of the new car, said he is relieved the design turned out so well.
“I’m a lot more excited about it now that we’ve gotten it on the ground and it’s starting to come together,” he said. “It’s been really nerve-racking for me, because if it doesn’t work, I’m going to take a lot of the blame.”
Eric Leonhardt, faculty adviser for the team, said the year started out as a challenge for the team.
“They had a smaller team initially, and that has been a challenge,” Leonhardt said. “But they’ve been getting stuff done.”
Viking 52 bears a resemblance to its predecessors as it remains a two-wheel drive car powered by an modified 10 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine, per SAE competition rules.
To ensure teams obey the rules, cars are inspected before and after each event. The top five finishers in the endurance race will have their engines completely torn apart after the race.
This rule puts teams on an even playing field, McLean said.
“We all have the same engine, so whoever can build the lightest car that handles the best and also is able to present it the best is going to win,” McLean said.
The team is comprised of 12 students, mostly engineering or industrial technologies majors.
During competition, most students on the team will have the chance to drive the car. McLean, Stout and Seabrook will be three of the four drivers during the endurance portion. Other students will drive in the acceleration, hill climb, rock crawl and maneuverability events.
The competition will include 87 teams from around the world, Leonhardt said.
McLean said the team plans to test the car this weekend and again the following weekend.
Since the team isn’t allowed to see the actual track before the event, they will be testing on a 40-acre plot of land off Highway 542 near Maple Falls, McLean said.
“You learn basics in classes, but you learn so much more in these SAE projects,” Seabrook said. “It’s cool because you have to apply [classroom knowledge]. After this you’ve got a car that hopefully wins competitions.”
Article source: http://www.westernfrontonline.net/news/article_2e35f5a6-b3f9-11e2-a2bc-0019bb30f31a.html
Posted: May 3, 2013 at 2:45 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
McLAREN P1™: ‘DESIGNED BY AIR’ INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE UNLEASHED
- Insight into the groundbreaking aerodynamic technology which has optimised the bodyshape of the McLaren P1™
- Online interactive experience can be found at designedbyair.com
The key to the performance for the McLaren P1™ is aerodynamics, and a new web experience, entitled ‘Designed by Air’, is the first of a two part series telling the extraordinary story behind the car’s design.
The website offers participants a detailed insight as the car is ‘born’ from raw metallic and carbon elements and is crafted by airflow. The journey evolves to unveil the McLaren P1™ within the wind tunnel highlighting the aerodynamic focus of the design.
Expanding into further sections, the story behind the design of the McLaren P1™ reveals an interactive 3D model with further information about the finely honed aerodynamic features. The immersive experience, inspired by McLaren Automotive Design Director Frank Stephenson’s biomimicry design philosophy, showcases the McLaren P1™ in simulated urban, alpine, highway and track environments, detailing how the active aerodynamic systems adjust and adapt to deliver optimum performance for differing driving conditions.
The ‘Designed by Air’ McLaren P1™ experience is socially enabled, with a final section ‘Future Chapters’ inviting users to ‘like’, share and register ahead of future updates on the car’s interior and performance features.
Frank Stephenson, Design Director at McLaren Automotive explains: “Our main objective with the McLaren P1™ was to design the best driver’s car in the world, on road and track. Managing air flow in and around the car’s bodywork and optimising aerodynamics was key in achieving this goal. This design philosophy crafted the highly unique and emotive shape of the car.
“The online ‘Designed by Air’ experience developed for the McLaren P1™ captures the essence and detail of the car’s aerodynamic design in an immersive and engaging way.”
The McLaren P1TM experience can be found at designedbyair.com.
Article source: http://www.worldcarfans.com/113050257250/mclaren-launches-designed-by-air-experience-for-the-p1
Posted: May 1, 2013 at 2:20 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
In the new world automotive order dominated by China, there are many new names we’ll soon become familiar with and the Tongji Automotive Design Research Institute (TADRI) is one destined for global prominence. TADRI was established in 2009 as a key to the Chinese (and Shanghai’s Municipal) Government plan to create a center of automotive expertise that is intended to give the Chinese automotive industry a competitive edge – think of TADRI as China’s automotive equivalent to America’s MIT.
TADRI is part of a group of high capability institutions based in Shanghai’s Automotive City, and is centered around Shanghai’s elite Tongji University. The people who get to Tongji University are the best, and the employees of TADRI are the best of the best graduates plus foreign experts of the highest ilk in their relevant fields.
Just some of the closely located collaborative institutions of TADRI include the Clean Energy Vehicle Engineering Center, Shanghai Automotive Wind Tunnel Center, Shanghai Fuel Cell Vehicle Powertrain Company and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) which in turn is part of the Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
Every country has different cultures, and despite being the world’s second largest country, most populous, and among most influential, China remains one of the least understood countries by foreigners. For much of the twentieth century, China’s global presence has been on the rise, but since economic reforms in 1978, its economy has relentlessly grown to become the second largest in the world, and it is expected to become the largest within a decade. China is unquestionably about to reclaim its title as the most most powerful country on earth.
China is already the world’s largest exporter and importer of goods, and its rapid industrial transformation has seen a population which, fifty years ago, was one of the world’s poorest per capita, grow incomprehensibly rich compared to the previous generation.
Love at first sight
As China’s population is accumulating wealth, it is going through the same love affair with the automobile that America and Europe did almost a century ago, and by comparison, it’s love at first sight. In 2010, China had 90 times as many automobiles as it had in 1990.
This time though, the machine that represents prosperity and freedom is likely to be a different size and shape, more efficient and technologically far superior to the massive internal combustion engine powered cars which gave personal mobility to the western world.
In 2010, the Chinese automotive market became the world’s largest, and it is still growing rapidly. The car parks of China’s technology and manufacturing companies are full of cars which reflect the personal worth and dignity of a generation craving what its parents did not have – foreign cars.
In a country where “face” is all important, the automobile has become the most visible indication of prestige, wealth and success and even downmarket western brand names are being favored over local marques.
China has more than 100 car manufacturers, yet Chinese brands account for less than a third of sales, and the above list of the top selling marques in China last month, contains just six Chinese brands in the top 20 – Great Wall, BYD, Chery, Changan, Dongfeng and JAC.
At the same time this automotive phenomenon has been occurring, there has been an equally large personal mobility trend happening beneath it, as China also sells millions of electric bikes each year. Indeed, China has more than 2000 electric bike manufacturers, and accounts for more than 80 percent of the world electric bike market.
Just as scooters make up the majority of the personal transportation system in other developing Asian countries, electric bikes make up a sizeable chunk of the transportation spectrum across China’s vast and quickly urbanizing landscape. America has nine cities larger than a million people. Europe has 31. China already has more than 120 such cities and while the rich drive cars, the man in the street uses an electric bike.
Electric bikes are the most accessible form of motorized transport available, for many reasons, partly due to price, partly to no registration being needed, and partly because every home has its own “gas station” in the form of a power outlet.
Electric bikes are everywhere in China, being used by not just millions of citizens for transport, but as the most common form of short distance delivery vehicle. No parking, no registration and because road laws are largely ignored (a 20 mph silent projectile will often catch you unawares and most disconcertingly, from any direction, on either side of the road and sometimes the footpath too), these electric bikes are being legislated against in many environs (to little effect). In many cities, they are also used by the police and many remote cities, they form the basis of taxi services.
China’s citizens bought more than eight million such electric bikes last year and Pike Research forecasts that annual sales of e-motorcycles and e-scooters will reach 18.6 million by 2018.
Solving the transport equation
TADRI recognizes that as China grows, there exists a massive need for new forms of transport that fit between the traditional automobile that took shape in America, and the electric bicycle which has replaced China’s traditional form of transport for the last century, the bicycle. Traditional-size cars are already creating massive problems across China, and the next generation of Chinese personal mobility will be smaller and more efficient.
Indeed, I spent some time at the TADRI stand at Auto Shanghai and the literature there left me in no doubt that the Intelligent Electric Vehicle on display will be the first of many new forms of transport that emanate from the institution.
While Toyota, Honda and Nissan are leading the charge of traditional auto makers with their own one- and two-person mobility prototypes, TADRI is likely to be providing expertise in this area to many Chinese automotive and mobility companies, and its budget and expertise is being supported by a Government which fully recognizes the need for new, clean, efficient and small personal mobility devices and eco-systems.
Within two decades, China will have 250 cities of more than a million people, and concrete plans are already in place to ensure its vehicles do not require ever-growing supplies of oil. China already consumes more oil than any country but America, and within the next year or two, it will consume more than the entire EU each year.
With a GDP growing at 10 percent per annum, China’s need for oil is growing by 7.5 percent per year, seven times faster than the US and a trend the Chinese Government is intent on curbing. TADRI and its growing expertise will be key to finding personal transportation technologies which reduce China’s dependence on foreign oil reserves.
I scanned a few of the brochures and documents they gave me at the TADRI exhibition and some of the concepts coming from Tongji University’s student design competitions make wonderful fodder for thought.
It hasn’t taken long for TADRI to begin to make its mark, and at Auto Shanghai this month, there were three fascinating concept cars on show that TADRI had been intimately involved in.
1 – Volkswagen People’s Car Project 4FUN
The most prominent TADRI-related vehicle on display at Auto Shanghai was the Volkswagen 4FUN, the winner of the 2013 Volkswagen People’s Car Project.
Drawing on its proletarian roots (Volkswagen is, after all, German for the “People’s Car), the People’s Car Project began in 2011, seeking the on-line ideas of the public as to what it wanted in the personal mobility area.
Since then, 35 million Chinese citizens have visited the site, and 210,000 innovative personal mobility designs and ideas have been contributed.
The People’s Car process was refined somewhat this year, taking the many ideas from the crowd sourcing process, then refining them by taking the ideas to TADRI and formulating a game plan for how to distill them into the most meaningful end result.
In this year’s process, TADRI worked with Volkswagen to identify and define the parameters of the vehicle – a seven-seat MPV designed for the now traditional Chinese family of four grandparents, two parents and one child.
The parameters then formed the basis of a student design competition held between the students of two of China’s most respected design institutions (Tsinghua University and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts) to give the concept shape.
The best designs were then further enhanced by VW’s design team in China plus TADRI, with a pop star (Zhou Bichang) and film director (Jia Zhangke) thrown into the mix, presumably for a bit of marketing collateral.
In the world where internet and social communication is key to engaging with the next generation, surely the crowd sourcing concept is the most dignified and sincere vision possible – a company seeking to develop and nurture a meaningful dialogue with its customers.
For most of the last century, the shape and function of cars sold globally has been dictated by the needs of the American marketplace. For much of the next half century, it will be dictated by the countries that don’t already have motorized personal transportation – China, Brazil, Russia, India and most of the countries of Asia.
From the perspective of the developed world, cars are taken for granted. It’s worth remembering that globally, the automobile has NEVER outsold the bicycle, and all those people who could afford nothing better than a bicycle for personal transport, may not see the wisdom in buying a big, costly four-seater.
Hence Volkswagen is ideally placed to leverage its privileged position in China and take advantage of the new communications revolution to communicate directly with its massive audience. In a country brimming with national pride, Volkswagen is on dangerous ground if it continues to treat the Chinese public as naive and uneducated.
Volkswagen was the first overseas car company to set up in China 30 years ago, as 50 percent partner with the Chinese Government. It may have taken a long time for that investment to pay dividends, but it is now paying more than handsomely.
As the first, best known, and top selling brand in a country where car ownership levels are roughly equivalent to those in America at the end of WW1, Volkswagen is almost assured of success regardless of what it does.
In 2010, it sold 1.4 million cars in China. In 2012, it sold 2.8 million cars, generating profits of US$10.86 billion and that awesome growth can be expected to continue for decades.
The end result of the second iteration of the People’s Car Project is very impressive and highly relevant, resulting in the scaled model on display at Auto Shanghai.
The 4FUN is a seven-seat electric vehicle with wireless charging underneath and a solar panel roof adding energy from above.
One of the most interesting aspects of the vehicle is its ability to display emotions externally with lighting and instead of the static corporate design language which helps us to recognize a BMW from a Mercedes Benz at a distance, the pseudo human visage of the 4FUN, will be animate, using lights to communicate the emotions of those within.
This external display of emotion using lighting has been seen several times before, most notably in a series of Toyota concepts such as the PM (pictured above) and POD (pictured below), a decade ago, and even patented a technology for cars to express the driver’s feelings, but it’s interesting that this time, the ability to express emotion externally on one’s vehicle appears to have come as a suggestion from the masses, not the designers.
As essentially a car for family outings, the 4FUN makes significant use of leading edge information technologies, being fully internet connected, and also offering an augmented reality capability to the car’s occupants via transparent screens that swivel down from the roof. These semi-transparent information screens don’t obstruct the view, but carry relevant information on the surroundings of the vehicle dependent on location.
The minimalist seating in the car is seating is reconfigurable courtesy of an ingenious mounting system – the seats are suspended from the roof, not mounted on the floor as with conventional vans.
2 – Tongji Auto Fuel Cell Volare
Tongji University has long been a global leader in the development of fuel cell systems, and although very few details were released regarding the purple Volare Roadster which graced the TADRI stand at Auto Shanghai, rest assured the internals would have been very special.
Tongji fuel cell cars competed in the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in 2004 (finishing in the top 10 percent of fuel cell vehicles by any measure) and in the 2006 Bibendum, a Tongji-designed FCV delivered the best fuel economy of the class.
Tongji worked in conjunction with Volkswagen and SAIC to develop the Passat Lingyu and Roewe vehicles which were part of the Energy Partnership Berlin and California Fuel Cell Partnership demonstration initiatives and were used to ferry guests at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Shanghai Expo 2010. Tongji oversaw the entire fuel cell fleet of buses, cars, delivery vehicles, street sweepers etc., that was used for Shanghai Expo 2010.
The subsequent formation of TADRI and its intensive collaboration with the Clean Energy Vehicle Engineering Center in developing automotive hydrogen fuel cells is just a small part of the role TADRI will play in China’s coming hydrogen economy. TADRI is working on every level of the Chinese and Shanghai Government plans, from the promotion of fuel cell and hybrid vehicles, the design and building of prototype hydrogen refueling stations, to the technical development of fuel cells for automotive usage.
The Volare is known to have a newly developed hydrogen fuel cell – we just don’t know any details. What is known is that the car has wheel motors on all four wheels (and is hence four-wheel-drive), and a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).
3 – Tongji Auto Intelligent Electric Vehicle
The TADRI IEV was also one of the many cars on stands around Auto Shanghai that had a scarcity of information available.
The IEV is just one of many designs TADRI has been working on in this area, and several such designs, one very similar to Toyota’s i-REAL prototype, were pictured in TADRI literature.
An earlier version of the IEV was on display at Auto China in Beijing last year. I spent time speaking with the engineers on the stand at Shanghai, and though many of the capabilities of the IEV have been kept purposefully vague, mainly because they are forever changing and evolving, I was left in no doubt that the IEV is a very important project with significant implications for the future of transport in China (and hence, for the rest of the world’s urban areas too).
The IEV, by design, has a top speed in vicinity of 25 km/h and a range around 40 km.
Like the Toyota PM prototype of a decade ago, it angles backwards to create a longer wheelbase at speed, giving it greater stability, while standing more upright at lower speeds to reduce its footprint.
Put the Tongji name in your memory banks – it will become increasingly relevant whenever personal mobility is discussed in coming years.
Article source: http://www.gizmag.com/tongji-automotive-volare-personal-intelligent-electric-vehicle/27227/
Posted: April 29, 2013 at 2:12 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design, “No design project has given me greater pleasure than the creation of the F-TYPE. It’s a project I’ve looked forward to from the moment I joined Jaguar, and it’s one that’s given my team and I great satisfaction. The F-TYPE is a sports car that is true to Jaguar’s design values – beauty of line and purity of form – and I’m honoured that the World Car of the Year jury has recognised our work with this award.”
On the F-TYPE, the advisory panel said, “The long wheelbase, short overhangs and flared fenders give this car a good stance. The contour in-plan view tapered toward the door emphasises the muscular rear fender that houses the driven wheels.
The F-TYPE exterior maintains Jaguar’s own elegance in its horizontal proportion and rounded surfaces, yet it looks very dynamic. I would like to say the interior design is even more attractive. It is clearly driver-oriented, and a grip bar for the passenger is nicely integrated into the big centre console. The seat design is superb, too.”
The award was collected by Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s Global Brand Director, at the New York International Auto Show. Commenting from the show, he said, “The F-TYPE is the first full-blooded Jaguar sports car to be launched for more than 50 years. Its architecture and technology are world class, wrapped in an evocative and progressive design that could only be a Jaguar, ‘Callum unfiltered’, as we call it in-house. It is as dynamic yet refined as any Jaguar sports car should be, and is a unique proposition from a performance and price perspective. This combination of factors has clearly inspired this year’s jurors, and we are delighted and honoured to collect this award.”
In turn, Amjad Saeed, General Manager of Mahmoudia Motors – the sole and official distributor of the Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo brands in Jordan – stated, “Receiving this prestigious award reaffirms the Jaguar F-TYPE’s classification as a class-leading car. Its design and technology features are unmatched by any other vehicle, offering Jaguar fans across the world a seamless driving experience in terms of aesthetics and performance.”
Article source: http://www.ameinfo.com/jaguar-f-type-declared-2013-world-car-338421