Design Concept of the Day: Volkswagen PCP Hover Car

May 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Volkswagen’s People’s Car Project, launched in China 11 months ago, has involved crowd-sourcing ideas for vehicle and technology projects. Suggestions developed by Volkswagen are the Music Car, a Beetle with an LED-enhanced exterior which changes colour according to the sounds from within, the Smart Key, which features touchscreen displays, remote birds’ eye monitoring via sat nav and 3G infomatics, plus this: the levitating Hover Car. This is a zero-emissions two-seater designed to travel, hovercraft-style, above electromagnetic road surfaces – and as it doesn’t roll along the ground, it barely looks like a car at all. “The creative ideas from the People’s Car Project give us a valuable insight into the wishes of Chinese drivers”, says Simon Loasby, Head of Design at Volkswagen Group China. “The trend is towards safe cars that can easily navigate overcrowded roads and have a personal, emotional and exciting design.” The project has been extended beyond the year initially planned, with a new phase and a competition to be launched soon. The findings from the project “will influence Volkswagen’s product strategy”, said director of marketing Luca de Meo. Video and more pics at Car Body Design.

Heads-up on some other stuff:

  • Lowdown on the E-Born3, a 14ft-long shuttle bus with in-wheel electric motors, at Autoblog Green, where you can find a full picture gallery plus video. Made by a consultancy called Applus Idiada – said to have worked on the stillborn Optimal Energy Joule – to showcase its skills, it’s a demonstration of form (interesting) following function (useful). There’s three rows of seats with the usual swivelling/configurable variability, plenty of loadspace and a theoretical 124-mile range. Not quite enough for a band tour bus, then. It’s on display at the SAE world Congress.
  • Hydro-Québec is studying EV vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-home (V2H) power exchanges at its research institute, working with the national centre for advanced transport to develop battery and control systems, plus two-way chargers to both recharge the battery and send power back to the grid. The work is supported by the Québec government, and is important because – I gather – it’s pretty damn cold up there in winter at times, and could glean some very valuable info about operating EVs in such conditions. More at Green Car Congress.
  • EcoVelocity show starts tomorrow at London’s ExCel Centre, runs till 13th May. You can nip next door to Grand Designs Live on the same ticket, should you so wish, which isn’t a bad two-fer.
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