The future looks comic
More than 2000 young designers put their spin on what the Peugeot of the future will look like, writes NEIL McDONALD
THEY may look like flights of fancy, but you could be driving these comic-book cars in the near future. French carmaker Peugeot has been cultivating young talent for five years with a design competition that looks at what we’ll be driving in the future.
This year’s event was launched at the Beijing Motor Show in April.
Judges have worked their way through 2500 entrants from 95 nations to present a semifinalist list of 30 designs.
Ten finalists will be chosen ahead of next week’s Paris Motor Show.
As with previous years, Peugeot invited young designers to imagine a Peugeot in the cities of tomorrow.
They must incorporate four criteria — environmental friendliness, social harmony, interactive mobility and economic efficiency.
The 30 semi-finalists reflect the designers’ take on different cultures.
From the simplicity of the Indian Globe project to the complexity of the German Rugir and the practicality of the Chinese Oxo (far right), the cars fit their intended purpose.
The next step is to narrow the field of 30 down to 10 at the Paris show.
Peugeot director-general Jean-Philippe Collin will present a trophy to the winning designer.
Many of the cars follow a similar theme using electric, solar power or hybrid technology.
Mickael Soubabere, from France, uses solar power for his two-seater, called the Please.
The solar energy is supplemented by a plug- in electric hybrid, which supplies power to a sequential automatic transmission.
The Please’s doors open automatically and fold back on themselves in tight parking spots.
Onur Guvenic, of Germany, also took the two-seater approach with his car, called the Rugir.
Curiously, the engine in Guvenic’s concept car mimics a lion’s roar. The lion, which is the symbol of Peugeot, is used elsewhere on the car. The Stylight (left), by Ognyan Bozhilov of Bulgaria, is a small threeseater powered by a 1.6-litre HDi hybrid engine.
In his design the engine is placed above the rear driving wheels, turning it into a mid-engine car.
The Stylight has a central driving position with a big windscreen.
Another innovation is the tyre rims that consist of two parts, the fixed outer 10-spoke rims and a rotating inner section that displays the Peugeot logo in neon.
Indian entrant Varun Gopinath’s Globe battery-operated car looks conventional, but its cabin rotates 180 degrees.
The Globe uses voice and touch-operated controls. Another feature is the press-button gearshift mounted on the steering.
The Globe is 3m long, 1.8m wide and 1.3m high.
Of all the concepts, the Peugeot 1009, designed by Edmin van der Mark of the Netherlands, looks quite conventional.
It comes in two versions — full electric and a hybrid, each with four-wheel steering.
The 1009 has a low beltine and big glasshouse.
Two sliding back doors make it easy to get into and the seats slide backwards for greater interior flexibility.
The two-seater Alegro, by Alexandre Raad of Brazil, is equipped with in-wheel electric motors and electric steering, electric brakes, stability control, active suspension, sensors for monitoring distance and avoiding crashes.
Alegro is built with aeronautic aluminium alloy, carbon fibre and plastic.
The Magnet, by Tolga Metin of the United States, looks like a giant rollerskate and is inspired by the magnetic levitating trains.
It is powered by a sophisticated electric engine that uses magnets for power and rideheight control. The brake system works with electromagnetic force.
As the driver hits the brakes, a reverse magnetic field is applied to all wheels.
The car’s canopy is made of high strength nanomaterials that change colour during the day to protect occupants from the sun.
Gustavo Hernandez, of Colombia, chose a rugged off-roader style for his 50x. The 50x looks like an ellipse surrounded by crystal, which, according to Hernandez, ‘‘allows the passengers to contemplate the landscape, the marvellous monuments and buildings of tomorrow’s metropolis’’.
It’s powered by four in-wheel electric motors, whose energy is taken from a hydrogen fuel cell.
The chassis is made of one-piece highstrength carbon fibre.
The two seats are part of the chassis and they come from the roof and descend.
The two gull-wing doors are made from polycarbonate.
Hernandez says the main goal of this car is to emulate the achievements of the old but trustful Peugeot 206.
‘‘An excellent urban car that become a pop icon, and an excellent rally car,’’ he says.