Junior Transportation Design students at CCS in Detroit recently completed a project sponsored by General Motors developing vehicle concepts for one of GM's eight Global brands that utilized the innovative E-Flex technology, a plug-in, electrically driven powertrain with an on-board Range Extender.
Throughout the semester students developed innovative concepts utilizing the E-Flex powertrain and its four critical components, lithium-ion battery, motor/generator set, electric traction motor, and on-board fuel source. GM design executives Bob Boniface, Director of Advanced Design and Gary Ruiz, both CCS alumni, worked with the students throughout the semester on the project.
Evan Mai presented the Cadillac V-Flex, a mid-engine electric race car that uses GM's E-Flex platform in a new configuration and advances Cadillac's art & science design language.
The race inspired proportion and layout of the V-Flex draws heavily from Le Mans prototype and F1 cars. Power would come from an electric motor with a range extending internal combustion engine. The Li-ion battery placed in the bottom center of the vehicle could be swapped from underneath the car during pit stops. Aluminum heat sinks in the rear efficiently dissipate heat away from the motor and battery while performing as a rear spoiler.
The front grille serves to communicate the Cadillac design philosophy and also serves as a functional aerodynamic enhancement. Phase changing louvers and rudders are controlled via a haptic interface to increase performance during extreme driving conditions. Cadillac's origami inspiration can be progressed with new methods of folding paper. Creasing and bending different types of paper allow more sophisticated forms which can be translated in to the topology of a vehicle. This new form of paper folding influences the design of the V-Flex.
SAAB Locus Solus
Ian Hedge's "Locus Solus" aspires to be an automotive perpetual motion machine. Designed for optimal efficiency in a dystopian future where conventional power sources have become all but unaffordable, its electric drive system absorbs the energy that is normally lost in other cars.
The white top surface absorbs solar power, while the magnetically controlled suspension, which supports four-wheel steering and active camber through a type of ball-in-socket joint, connects narrow, low drag tires that absorb friction heat.
The form language was labeled "mechanical aerodynamics", defined by dramatic constructional forms with powerful graphics and eye-catching colors. The Saab brand identity is maintained in graphics and a strong wedge-shape attitude.