Design Concepts of the Day: Fiat Panda Hug, Panda Roomy

December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

fiat hugfiat roomy

10 prize-winning design students from the Royal College of Art have been chosen to go to Fiat Centro Stile in Turin to transform their drawings into clay models and undertake internships. The RAC/Fiat Two of a Kind project asked students – mostly on the MA Vehicle Design course – to imagine the 500 and Panda city cars of 2020, the 500 in terms of ’emotion’ and the Panda in terms of ‘functionality’. The ten winners included Francesco Binaggia’s ‘Panda Hug’, with an innovative modular interior, and Ji Won Yun’s ‘Panda Roomy’, whose exterior was conceived as an extension of personal living space. The project co-ordinated with the roll-out of Fiat’s Fiat Likes U student car-sharing programme; trialled at eight universities in Italy, Fiat is now planning to roll this out across its home country and in Europe, with the RCA the first British university to take part.

  • And on the subject of university car-shares… Fleet News reports that Southampton University (my new ‘home’) is the first UK university to sign up for Enterprise Carshare.
  • Swiss consultancy Rinspeed is doing the automated thing next year at the Geneva Motor Show: its XchangE concept is a electric saloon that allows occupants to stretch out and relax in comfort whilst they’re electronically chauffeured. It’s fully-wired for work, games, movies and media, with seats similar to those in business-class cabins.
  • New report from US PIRG (Public Interest Research Groups) on ‘peak car’, “Transportation in Transition”, looks at changing travel patterns in the US’s largest cities. Average mileage down 7.6% since 2004, mileage fell in almost three-quarters of the cities 2006-2011, most urban areas seeing increased cycling, use of public transport, working from home plus a fall in private car ownership. Not thought to be recession/economy-linked, either. Percentage changes still small, however, and only applicable to urbanized areas.
  • 42% of US households would find the range of a plug-in hybrid adequate for their everyday needs, and 25% could cope with an EV with a range of 100 miles, reports a survey by the US Union of Concerned Scientists and the Consumers Union. For weekday driving, 69% could use an EV as they drive less than 60 miles. The study took into account access to parking and an electricity outlet, the need to transport five people or fewer, and towing or hauling needs, as well as (when considering EVs) range and ownership of a second vehicle. Nice infographic and PDF of full report at the USC website.
  • More research: annual forecast from ExxonMobil, Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, reckons that global energy demands will grow 35% by that date, vehicle numbers will double as car ownership in developing markets rises, but that after growth and plateau-ing, vehicle fuel demand will gradually decline thanks to more efficient vehicles. Up to 5% of global fleet will be electric vehicles, it thinks, and 35% hybrids. Higher demand for diesel due to freight/delivery growth, however, and natural gas will be fastest-growing fuel market, though a 60% rise in renewables. Whatever you think of the report’s source/agenda, some interesting numbers to chew over. Handy digest at Green Car Congress. And after all, ExxonMobil has as much need to get its figures right as everyone else.
  • More on Renault’s self-driving Zoe project at Autocar: self-driving at speeds of up to 20mph in designated pedestrian-free zones (i.e. for stop-start motorway traffic queues), self-parking. And news on new tech including an all-in one auto transmission/electric motor for hybrids and EVs, steel pistons for fuel savings, and twin turbos for engine downsizing. Renault also reckons to get a range of 260 miles out of the Zoe EV by the end of the decade.
  • Ford has just demoed its semi-automated obstacle avoidance tech, and has teamed up with the University of Michigan on a fully automated Fusion Hybrid research vehicle for an ongoing project.
  • Oerlikon Graziano has announced and outlined its new hybrid six-speed automated-manual transmission, said to be cheaper, lighter and more efficient than equivalent DCT units, yet as refined; ‘torque infill’ comes from an electric motor to smooth out gearchanges. The OGeco is designed for high-performance vehicles with front or rear-wheel drive, can work with range-extended plug-in hybrid powertrains, KERS, electric boost and energy recuperation systems, and will be trialled early next year.
  • Not so grim Up North: the BIS-backed Regional Growth Fund and Collaborative Projects Fund (managed by Gateshead College and Zero Carbon Futures) is putting up a £900,000 investment in five low-carbon transport infrastructure initiatives in the north-east. One is the Route Monkey/Teeside University/Urban Foresight project to develop software to analyse usage patterns and total cost of EV ownership for fleets; another is the AVID Technology/Newcastle University work to develop an improved DC fan and water pump for EVs; a third is the Seeward Electronics/Teeside University project to develop an EV charging point tester; the fourth is the Sevcon/Wolverine Tube modelling/development of a new high-voltage low power inverter; and the fifth the Hyperdrive/Wylan Professional Services development of products and engineering services in data logging and GPRS-enabled control ECUs for automotive, defense, marine and portable power applications.
  • Brrr… VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) is testing intelligent vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems in cold and slippery conditions in the city of Tampere. The Drive C2X project is a collaboration between VTT, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Opel, and is looking at information on road surface conditions. More here.

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