Thursday, January 22, 2009

Truly Innovative New Car Design

Every once in a while you see a new design that has features you know are destined to be part of design in the future. A concept design company called EDAG has created just such a design.

EDAG has designed a car called the Light Car that can communicate with other drivers, utilizes OLED lights, has independent electric drives on each wheel and is recyclable.

EDAG’s Light Car is poised to be the design to beat in the auto industry. This electric car can go 150km on a single charge, and is made of a lightweight basalt fiber (which is similar to carbon fiber or fiberglass) that is 100% recyclable. A large portion of the cars body is covered in individually adaptable OLED lights which can be configured in a number of ways to communicate messages to other drivers beyond the standard brake and turn signals. Propulsion is by intelligent, electric drive systems in the wheels.

The body of the car is an individually adaptable desktop, that looks as though it is made of glass, that, when it is started up, comes to life as the (O)LED lamps in the glass panels mark out the outlines of the headlights and rear lights. The driver can design the outlines of the lights to his individual taste to give the car a unique appearance.

The driver also can arrange the cockpit. Whether the tachometer will be in the middle or the climate control gauge on the right-hand side, the driver can individually configure his cockpit as far as size, position and style of the instruments is concerned.

With the aid of state-of-the-art (O)LED technology, EDAG uses the transparent tailgate as a projection screen, making car-to-car communication visible and usable to all motorists. For instance, the braking force can be communicated to the next vehicle by means of an illuminated scale on the back of the car. Other information, such as a distance reading or if there is the tail end of a traffic jam ahead, can be clearly displayed on the back of the car, even if the vehicle behind does not have a car-to-car communication system of its own.

The basalt fiber of the body is 100% recyclable and an almost infinitely available raw material that is not just lighter and less costly than aluminium or carbon, but also has practically the same strength properties as conventional materials. This new quality of basalt fibre, which is to be utilised in the construction of rotors for large-scale wind power plants in the future, can now be put to systematic use in the automotive industry.

The body concept of the EDAG Light Car Open Source is based on a rolling chassis (sometimes called a skateboard chassis) which is a universal platform to which the modules for various bodies can be added. This enables any body shape to be developed more quickly and at lower cost.

The car's exterior dimensions put it in the compact car size range, but since both engine (that thing under the long hood) and gearbox (that hump in the middle) have been eliminated, the wheelbase is equivalent to a luxury class level with enough space to seat five passengers in comfort.

The drive concept of the light car is based on an all-electric, monovalent drive system with a range of up to 150 kilometres, making it suitable for everyday use. Propulsion is accomplished by intelligent, electric drive systems in the wheels, which not only feature a high degree of efficiency to get the power of the lithium-ion batteries in the rolling chassis onto the road, but will also provide considerably greater creative scope for the vehicle design.

The car is the first Open source vehicle enabling new designs to be applied to the car of the future. Other designers, and even the vehicle owner, can change the vehicle to suit their own needs and desires.

Click on the heading above to see a video at the EDAG website.

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