Automotive designers are in a constant struggle to increase the fuel efficiency of their vehicles these days. To help answer that need, Michelin invited creative designers worldwide to reinvent not just the wheel but the whole car.
The Michelin Challenge Design, a yearly event created by Michelin North America, Inc., is about way more than tires. It’s a contest that challenges designers to come up with vehicle concepts that accomplish a different goal each year. The 2013 MCD, Half! Lightweight with Passion, asked for concepts that reduced vehicle weight without sacrificing the safety and comfort of the vehicle. Here’s a look at the winners of the 2013 Michelin Challenge Design.
Top Three Winners
eLink by Jorge Biosca
The eLink is an electric SUV concept from Spanish designer Jorge Biosca. When you hear SUV, do you think gas-guzzler? Think again with the eLink concept.
It’s a four-wheel drive vehicle that uses Michelin Active Wheel technology. Its electric motor is linked to the steering wheel wirelessly. The vehicle rotates on a central point. This vehicle is lightweight because its body is made of lightweight but sturdy fabric that contains thin-film solar panels. This fabric is stretched over thermoplastic composite materials.
PolyPlus by Song Wei Teo
Singapore-born Song Wei Teo came up with the vacuum-formed PolyPlus design. His vehicle design cuts weight by using aerospace-spec carbonate plastic, which is strong and lightweight but has never been used in the automotive industry. He also suggests using a vacuum to form the body of the vehicle in order to eliminate the added weight of the chassis structure of contemporary vehicles.
Dolphin by Shun Liu and Team
This is pictured at the top of the article. Three young minds from China came up with the concept that rounded out the top three at this year’s Michelin Challenge design. Shun Liu, 20, Zhiqiang Gao, 23, and Zhilei Chen, 26, invented the Dolphin car concept. This lightweight car concept looks like the sports car of the future. This futuristic car concept has a body made of transparent glass and carbon fibers. The team combined this lightweight body with a dual-stator MagLev engine, a lighter model than what’s featured in many cars.
What was your favorite model from this year’s MCD? Do you have a great idea for vehicle-design innovation? Tell us about it in the comments.