Okay, so here is the most exciting part……taking the design ( and off course the CAD model ) into the final stages……..and me getting some vital time to do the systems part…….but before that, a look at what i did in last three weeks or so….the most important stuff…….doing the interiors of the car, and making the car a bit more practical.
As you can notice, the design language follows the route set by BMW’s “Flame Surfacing”.
The intent is to create an interesting combination of convex / positive surfaces, convex / negative surfaces, and some rare flat surfaces that will embody the car’s volume in a way that justifies its function as a combination of ” City car” and an ” Utility Vehicle”.
The large wheels helps in adding to the car’s utilitarian character, while the transparent A – Pillar, the absence of B – Pillar, and the thick C-Pillar adds to the city car feel, where the passengers and drivers will enjoy the clear and unobstructed view of the surrounding city-scape.
The overall form of the car represents a strong character, which is necessary since its a part utility vehicle as well, while on the other hand, the low height and sleek surfacing gives it the agility and sophistication of a city car.
The design is dominated by two single curved lines, one which forms the shoulder line and runs over the front wheel arch, and the other which runs down the C-Pillar and cuts through the two doors to meet the front wheel arch.
The first curved line that i mentioned helps to give the car a fairly backward stance, indicating clearly that it is not a powerful car. On the other hand, the other curved line, which is aided by the two-tone color combination, helps in creating a visual shift of balance equally in the favor of front and rear.
Most of the surfaces exhibit a sense of function, which is a must for any utility vehicle. Amongst those, are
– The two separate shutters for the cargo bays at the rear end ( one for the flat floor bed for storage of long items and other one on the top for additional storage of large items ).
– The centrally split rear windows and the flat top rear end leading to it.
– The Front Scooped portion.
Reversed hinged doors ( better known as suicide doors ) opening at an angle of 90 degrees – allowing easy access to all the 4 seats.
Wait……..don’t start with the usual criticism of the front scoop yet……….because its nothing but a cargo area, and i have a couple of renderings showing the retractable cargo cover made out of reinforced fabric, which is supposed to be the solution for the front cargo bay.
I can understand your situation, as we have all grown up seeing the bonnets and specifically the ” power bulges ” on the bonnets giving us a clear idea as to how powerful the monster under the bonnet is.
Earlier, i had just planned to leave the front scoop the way it is, because it was meant to be a symbolic representation of a ” non-powerful ” car , by giving a negative bulge in a way….but people around me are so conventional, that they are used to see conventional things under the name of design, hence nobody seemed to welcome the idea of having a ” BONNET – LESS ” car- as nobody understood that im actually reducing the overall weight and visual mass of the car, and it was also about eliminating the material used to make bonnet and the hinges, etc.
Off course people asked -” if you want to make a bonnet-less car, then why don’t you make a VAN instead ?”
AGAIN – Conventional questions !
I didn’t bother to answer that, because i didn’t want my concept for car-sharing system to look like a van, since i had imagined it to be a combination of a city car and a utility vehicle. And i was ready to deviate a little from the conventional shape of a today’s car….others sadly couldn’t digest it.
I would like to question – WHY DO WE NEED BONNET ANYWAYS ? ” Just to hide the Engine ?
And what if there is no Engine there ? That’s it……there should be no hood at all.
And that is exactly why I still decided to keep the scoop as it is………in spite of all the possible discouragement by faculties, other designers, batch mates, etc……………. by using it as a cargo bay, and just giving a retractable fabric cover which will provide easy access to the small luggage bags.
Off course, the electric powered, retractable, reinforced and water-proof fabric cover will run along the guide rails, and fix into the top bit of the bumper via a simple locking mechanism.
CHECK THESE ONES ………….FOR THE SCOOP COVER
Okay, now enough explanation of the front scoop – since i have other interesting things to talk about as well.
The above few images show the seating mechanism of the car .
The seats are supported by the central shaft, which houses the fuel tank to store liquid hydrogen. So the seats rest on the fuel tank, and can be folded into a flat position, giving more than ample of space to slide large bags and daily cargo via the upper cargo bay at the rear end of the car.
Check out the section below, for a clear idea of the flat floor bed, and the additional cargo bay as well as the suspended flat-folding seats.
And since the seats are suspended over the fuel tank, it means that we get a clear , uninterrupted flat floor bed , which is very necessary for periodic cleaning purposes, considering that its a public transport vehicle.
The flat floor bed can be used for carrying large flat objects like surfboards, folding push-bikes, skateboards, etc, which comes to be very handy in case of day-to-day transportation of household goods.
Regarding the glowing wheels………well, the vehicle’s got a motor to propel it in each of its four wheels……so the neon lights in each wheel glow when the respective motors are powering the car – that means, if the car is being powered by the two front wheels, then only the front wheels will be glowing.
DESIGN OF THE INSTRUMENT PANEL
The Instrument panel ( IP ) is a very simple one – in tune with the minimalistic theme for the interior.
Effectively speaking, there isn’t a thing called as ” DASHBOARD ” in the car.
The place for housing the IP is just an extension of the central shaft – with the 13 inch LCD screen acting as the balancing point between the central shaft and the central IP dock.
The touch screen LCD panel can be swiveled in both directions along a central pivot point , so that it can be controlled by either the driver or the front passenger.
It will give access to exclusive functions like satellite navigation, google maps, street view as secondary options, while the service interface being its primary function.
Since there are no switches and buttons on the IP Dock, the controls for commonly needed major functions like air-conditioning levels, audio settings, light and ambiance settings, door locks etc are provided on all the four doors for individual access, leaving the central console absolutely neat and uncluttered.
There is a space for docking the i Pods on the central shaft, wherein every user can listen to his/ her own music via the wireless headphones.
Also provided on an individual basis, are the charging sockets for their cell phones, laptops etc, and a foldable table-top for personal use.
In addition to the touch-screen LCD, the other two components of the IP are the two large semi-circular Pods over the top surface, one each for the rev counter and speed display.
Alternatively, if the member changes the settings through the LCD screen, he gets to see the fuel level indicators ; for Hydrogen and Battery reserve level respectively , in those same two pods.
The whole interior space is fairly uncluttered, with no obstacles or hurdles in the way of any passenger or driver, allowing clear access and exit through the doors.
There is ample legroom, shoulder room and headroom for all passengers owing to the design and layout of the seats and the central console.
The chief intent behind this kind of interior design is the fact that this vehicle will be used for car pooling as well, which means that four fairly unknown car sharing members could be traveling at the same time.
Henceforth, every member should have individual access to certain functions which otherwise would be shared / common ones in any other car.
Following materials were researched to a certain extent, wherein their properties, applications, merits and demerits were studied, and proposed in following areas –
MAKROLON Plastic – for the body of the car.
ZEOFORM – For the molded seats.
CARBON FIBER – For the fuel tank and chassis only.
SISAL – for dashboard, interior panels like floorboards, inner door walls etc.
ALCANTARA – Alternative for leather used in trim and other upholstery.
HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps – new generation LED’s for headlamps.
INTERACTIVE LED lamps – for Blinkers.
LIGHT EMITTING WALLPAPER – for communication purpose .
SHAPE MEMORY POLYMER – for seat cushions, steering wheel etc.
IMPERMEABLE / WATER PROOF COTTON – for seat covers specially.