2010 LA Auto Show 1,000 Pounds Car Design Challenge [Gallery]

Cadillac AeraHonda AirMaybach DRSMazda MX-0Mercedes-Benz BiomeNissan iVsmart 454Toyota NORI
The challenge launched to automakers by this year’s LA Auto Show Design Contest was to envision a 1,000 lb. (450kg) four-passenger vehicle that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling demand.

Today we bring to you the entries submitted in the challenge, which range from vehicles made from organic materials and powered by compressed air to futuristic models relying on the latest high-tech advancements.

For the first time, Mercedes-Benz studios from Germany and Japan will join the competition to add an international perspective.

Judging criteria is based upon not only meeting the weight constraint (1,500 pounds maximum with occupants), but also for the artistic beauty, comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance and user-friendliness of the vehicle.

The 2010 Design Challenge entries include:

General Motors Advanced Design CaliforniaCadillac Aera (Aero + Era) - 1000 lb., 2+2 touring coupe, with a range of 1000 miles utilizing alternative fuel. The body structure uses a polyhedral, 3D lattice, mono-formed frame with a flexible pressurized polymer skin for body panels and glass, optimizing weight, aerodynamics and safety.

Honda Advanced Design Studio Honda Air - inspired by the modern roller coaster, as well as skydiving wing-suits, the Air is powered by a compressed air and pneumatic regulator system. At just under 800 lbs., the powerful anthem of pneumatic propulsion exemplifies Honda’s concept of fun to drive. The pow[air] of dreams.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center JapanMAYBACH DRS “Den-Riki-Sha” (electric powered rickshaw) - embodies the attributes of a radically new car culture in the near future. Powered by a self balancing electric drive unit and controlled by an onboard computer plugged into a mega city’s transport infrastructure.

MAZDA Design Americas – With each component in the MX-0 redesigned to carry out the functions of several MX-5 components, a multitude of parts have been replaced with fewer, simplified ones, using innovative lightweight materials. With its ultra-light mass pushed by high-torque electric motors, the MX-0 delivers impossible acceleration and instant cornering. It’s more like flying than driving.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center CaliforniaMercedes-Benz Biome - uses technologies from nature to achieve ultimate light weight and seamless integration into the ecosystem. Grown in the ecologically sustainable Mercedes-Benz Nursery, each vehicle is grown from two seeds. One seed, the front star, grows the interior of the vehicle from Mercedes-Benz DNA, while the seed capsule creates the vehicles exterior. Both seeds grow together and are genetically engineered into customer’s specifications.

Nissan Design AmericaNissan iV - a super-lightweight sports tourer that showcases “organic synthetics". Derived from fast-growing ivy and re-enforced with spider silk composite, the biopolymer frame is flexible and ultra-light, yet extremely robust.

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design GermanySmart 454 - manufactured by incredibly high tech robots that look as friendly and cuddly as our grandmothers. The Tridion-frame (chassis), knit by “Smart Granny Robots” (otherwise know as SGRs), creates complex shapes and forms out of carbon fibre, enabling the geometry to be optimized in strength and weight.

Calty Design Research, Inc. – The NORI concept presents the idea that the body and chassis are one as a PODULAR form. Created using “nori,” (the Japanese word for seaweed) combined with a carbon fiber weave for strength, the NORI not only reduces weight and the number of parts while capturing and generating energy, but minimizes the impact on the ecosystem.

Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center VMCCVolvo Air Motion Concept - thousands fewer components are employed than in a traditional car thanks to the powerful, yet simple, compressed air motors. The Volvo Air Motion demonstrates the beauty and purity of Scandinavian design and delivers a guilt free, raw driving experience.

The winning design will be announced on November 18 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
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