Archive for May, 2009

Form, Target buyers and Package

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research with tags , , , on May 20, 2009 by edwinconan

Form

I have a personal style that I have been developing for two years. I like to hide subtle curves in the extrusions and use these extrusions to form the body of the car and interior as well. Examples are GM Roll up and HSV Encore.

I admire Italian Design and have used my understanding and research into Italian Design as a base to develop my style from. In my view the key spirit of Italian Design are:

  • Design is the production of art
  • Design orientated more than user orientated
  • Design is a combination of traditional craftsmanship, modern thing, personal character, nature material and new material
  • Being an individual, having my own style is important
  • Designer design the desire and dream
  • Design should have an emotional function apart from physical function
  • Aesthetics first, practicality second. Looking good is everything, everything has to look good. Proportions, light interact and details are very important

Target Audience

The project will focus of the fun of driving, so the target audience will be those high income people in the future who have an active and dynamic lifestyle, appreciate engineering and driving pleasure, enjoy the unique experience offered by the car and the sense of being an individual, can afford a car as a reward for their hard work and use it for recreational purpose in weekend and holidays.

Such group of people is currently in their 20s. They are the first digital generation who grow up with video games and computer games. They like digital gadgets and driving in the virtual world. In the future they will most willing to try the same fun driving experience in the real world.

The Package

  • Seats: 3 seats (1+2 layout)
  • Wheels: 4 wheels (4 wheel drive, can be switched to rear wheel drive)
  • Power: Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Plug-in Electric

Hydrogen stored as liquid or compressed in a tank behind the seats

  • Hub mounted electric motors in each wheel
  • Control: Drive by wire
  • Enough luggage space for a weekend trip
  • Materials: Carbon Fiber or environmental friendly composite materials. Monocoque structure provides lightweight and stiffness. Also act as impact absorb for safety
  • Low production volume

All Electric Package

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Package

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People Research

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research with tags , , on May 20, 2009 by edwinconan

With the increase in traffic, future cities will be populated by microcars and served by efficient public transport systems. Driving to the city will be almost impossible and certainly the experience will not be enjoyable giving the fact of congestion, speed limit, parking problem, road rage, etc. The pressure at work will be higher than any time in the past. From time to time, people need to escape from the pressure and hard work. Some of them may find driving a performance car as a way to release the pressure. The demand of fun car will increase. While I have always maintained the view that cars should not be just a tool to take people from here to there, the activity of driving; the process should also be enjoyed. So for my “car of the future project”, I drew my attention on the pleasure of driving, the car that will be used for leisure time outside the city for people to discover the emotion and harmony between them and the machine.

The people research is conducted in order to map people types, find out their distinctive lifestyle, character, habit, need, trend and all sorts of things that the certain group of people have in common, in this case, the people who appreciate the fun of driving. Surveys and interviews were used to achieve the results. The results will be used as a general guild and form the foundation of the car of the future that I will be designing.

In General (based on the survey of 40 people):

  • Almost everyone lives in suburban area.
  • Most female drivers regard cars as a tool to get from A to B,
  • Almost all male drivers regard car both as a tool and a toy and buy cars for both everyday use to go to work and for recreational use like weekends and holidays
  • Absolutely everyone enjoys driving; include people who treat cars as tools, but they still enjoy the process of using such tool.
  • Majority of the car drivers uses public transport or walk in the city
  • Most young people who are studying and working don’t have a second car for leisure occasions. Older people at their 30s who have formed a family usually have 2 cars. As the age going older, the number of cars people own also go bigger. People at their 40s and 50s would have enough savings to afford a more luxurious car or a sports car for leisure time driving.
  • Although most cars have 4 or 5 seats, only 1 to 3 are usually in use. From the observation at the exit of the Eastern Freeway turning in Hoddle Street, almost of them drive solo, very few carries another one passenger.
  • Amount all the problems in motoring experience, congestion is rated as the most hateful thing, followed by speed limit, road rage and parking problem.
  • Most people are worried about the environment issue and wouldn’t mind to pay more for a car that is more eco-friendly and fuel efficient, which means people like to contribute and make effort on green issues. More than half of the people would even sacrifice the good look and speed to go green, the majority of other half is not sure, and they would rather like to have both of them. The rest of the sample, which are car enthusiasts, would hate to drive an ugly car that is eco-friendly and slow.
  • Many people would like their car to look luxurious and expensive, some even prefer crazy and flamboyant. Most female drivers want to have a big size car. Amount all the different countries’ car design, German car styling are ranked the highest (because they stand for luxury), then is Italian and British. Japanese car styling is ranked the least preferred style (that is probably because Japanese cars just don’t look luxurious).
  • People’s preference in the aspects of a car:
  1. Looks
  2. Reliability, build quality
  3. Luxury
  4. Safety
  5. Performance
  6. Sustainability
  7. Cost
  8. Fuel efficiency
  9. Practicality
  • Most people would like to have automatic driving and flying ability featured in their future car. Very few people are happy with the current normal car.

Most people would like to try a new type of vehicle

Nobody has ever heard of Ekranoplan or Ground Effect Vehicle

Everyone would like their cars to be able to do something that other’s cars cannot do.

All of them would like to have a little adventure or different experience with their cars

When the idea of an Ekranoplan car is explained, almost everyone showed and interest in such thing and believes it will lead to a new lifestyle and motorsport, and more than half of them would like to try to live such lifestyle.

In Depth (based on interviews with a few car enthusiasts like sports car owners and race drivers)

After the general public research, I found out that although everyone enjoys driving, young drivers cannot afford to have a car only for driving pleasure. People who buy a car for leisure time driving experience are usually at their 40s to 50s (some exception fall into a younger age group from 30s to 40s), this is the time when they buy the first car only for fun. As they aging, more spare money is saved to spend on cars for recreational use. So I went on to search for those people and tried to find out what kind of people they are.

I found that most of the people who buy cars for recreational use have already owned 2 to 3 cars and live in suburban area. Those cars are usually practical cars like hatchbacks, sedans and people carriers, which are more of a tool for them for everyday use such as driving to work, shopping and school run. The 3rd or 4th car they buy will be a sports cars or supercars for weekend and holiday, which are more of a toy for them. Some of them have holiday properties at the beach or countryside. Most of them are business owners or high income professionals like company directors and doctors. Although the same group of people may also spend their money on luxury sedans, those who choose sports cars show a much younger mind and fitter body and have more active and dynamic lifestyle then others in the same age group. They like to play tennis, golf, swimming and winter sports like skiing and water sports like sailing. Typically, they would finish their weekday work and pack up everything they need in the boot and head to their holiday properties with their family and spend the weekend there. Most of them joined the owners club of the car they own and actively participate in organized events like track days and member’s dinners.

Depending on how big the business they own and how big their income is. Their driving machines ranges from more affordable brands like BMW and Porsche to high end, money-is-no-matter Ferrari and Maserati. Although they own fast cars, none of them would speed on public roads even though nearly all of them rank speed limit higher than congestions and other issues as the most hateful thing in motoring, the reason being that they don’t want to lose the license and not be able to drive the car. That aside, they do share a more aggressive driving style then others in the same age group in the form of rapid acceleration and braking, but not speeding. They are responsive drivers and consider that only poor people speed on the road, rich people speed on the track. Apart from that, they also enjoy the sense of knowing the high speed ability of their cars but not really using them.

The buying decision of their driving machine is somehow complex. After all, the car is quite costly. However, the main driven reason being that they want to reward themselves after a decade or two of hard working. In other words, they buy the car as a gift to amuse themselves. Other reason include they are having mid-age crisis and want to add a little pizzazz back to their lives and a fresh feel of individuality, a personal statement. Generally speaking, when buying the car, looks and performance are usually their first priority. However, the research shows a trend of older buyers consider luxury and safety higher than looks and performance, since they are aging and may no longer be able to fully experience the performance of the cars, they would like to appreciate the build quality and on-board luxury features a bit more. Aspects such as sustainable, fuel efficiency and practicality scored equally very low on the priority. None of them would pay for an eco-friendly car that is not good looking or slow.

Although they are all wealthy sports car owners, and they have a lot of qualities in common, there are still subtle difference amount them and can be divided into 4 groups, interestingly, they also roughly follow the age groups and price range.

1. Young people at their 30s who bought their first performance car and are inexperience and unfamiliar with the performance of the cars. But like the speed and push the car a bit. Also buy the car for personal statement. Their choices of cars are usually the entry level sports cars like Porsche Boxter, BMW M3

2. Older people, usually at their 40s, who are still very active, like the sensation of speed and handling, would like to be a fighter pilot but can’t, so they bought a sports car and fly on the ground. They will buy a Porsche Carrera S or a Maserati GT.

3. Purists, people who just don’t care what other people think of them in their cars. They are more into the engineering and technical side of the car, love the design and the way the car is designed and the package. They drive the car to feel the mechanicals and engineering, not for personal statement. They will by BMW M6 or Posche Carrera 4S or Maserati GT

4. Probably the oldest group who have achieved success in their lives, like to enjoy the quality products and service. They require everything in their lives to be the best and perfect. Their cars are Porsche Turbo and GT2, Ferraris, or Maserati Quattroporte.

In conclusion, my target segment would be those high income people who have an active and dynamic lifestyle, appreciate engineering and driving pleasure, enjoy the unique experience offered by the car and the sense of being an individual, can afford a car as a reward for recreational use in weekend and holidays.

Design Approach and Package

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research with tags , , on May 13, 2009 by edwinconan

Edwin Design Approach

To be honest, the final year is my one and only chance to have my own design brief, sort of, and to design something different and crazy, sort of. As a car enthusiast who has drew three of my previous projects towards car design projects, this time, instead of just design yet another car, I would like to change it just a bit.

In my mind, a students final year project should be an identification of the student, a name card, a tag of him, a showcase of every single ability of him and promote him, and more importantly, the project should bring a fresh breathe to the world.

Over the years, the world has seen loads of concept vehicles that combine two or more than two means of transportation, for instance, amphibious vehicle is a combination of car and boat, a flying car is a car and a plane at the same time. It is usually one of those innovations that catch the world’s imaginations and step out of the comfort zone of transportation as an explorer and showed the world a new way of doing things, not necessarily the correct way, but a new one. Ask anyone what their vision of the future car is; most of them will come up with flying car of some sort. However, the research has shown me that there is a missing jigsaw in the picture, no one that I have come across has ever designed a combination of an ekranoplan and a car. And I would like to take this challenge and explore the potential and possibility of such vehicle.

The Form

Sketches

Just like any other design projects, or more specifically, vehicle design projects, the design process will start with a pencil and a piece of paper. Drawing, sketching and rendering are not just a quick and efficient way to visualize the concept and translate the idea out of the designer’s head, but also a great way to showcase the designer’s skill, as sketching is the most fundamental skill a transportation designer should have. That aside, it is always a pleasure to look at pages and pages of drawings, at least I never get tired of doing this, and initial sketch stage is the most fun part of the whole design process.

Then it comes to styling. Since I have always been a big fan of Italian design and style and my research subject was Italian aesthetics, I would like to use the principle of Italian style to guide my design. To start with, Italian industry is “design orientated”, very different from other nations’, which are “user orientated”, Italian designers treat design as “the production of art”, and themselves as artist, and as artists, they interact with the society, contact different people, observe the trend and fashion and inherit their long artistic tradition throughout their daily lives, at the end of the day they go back to their studios to use their shrewd mind and extensive professional knowledge to create beautiful sculptures. The result will be a gorgeous form that expresses the designers’ heart and soul. They then add some function to the sculptures to make it a product. As it is always the way Italian design is, aesthetics first, practicality second. Looking good is everything, and everything has to look good. So for my design, I will spend a great deal of time on sketching and developing the form of my vehicle. And the style of the vehicle should have a strong aesthetic identity of me as an individual, I will use my own bending plywood extrusion form to style the vehicle. The feature on the vehicle will be kept to a bare minimum to achieve a sleek and clean form and lightweight.

CAD

Once the form is set, I will transform the concept from 2D on paper to 3D in virtual reality software, Solidworks. As it is always the case that during the process of the 2D to 3D transforming, due to all sorts of practical problem, such as engineering possibility, usability, ergonomic, etc, the form of the vehicle usually will be changed or deformed. The design will always be tune down a bit and end up not as good looking as it was on paper. For this project, I will try my best and use my practiced Solidworks operating skill to minimize the lost of the initial form and detail up the design.

The 3D model will also produce high quality computer generated images to further visualize the design and details. The images will later be used in presentations, posters, exhibitions, and folios.

Model

The Solidworks file will also serve as a tool to produce a physical scale model. The proposed scale for the model of this project is 1:10, a reasonable size for a final year student vehicle design project. The CAD file will be modified to meet the requirement of the machine converted into STL or IGS file, then sent to a CNC milling machine to rapid prototype the body parts of the vehicle. In order to achieve a high level of detail and high quality finish, the material of the model will be either Geluton timber or other special rapid prototype material depending on the stock in the workshop (excluding foam). The detail and small size parts will be produced using 3D printing technology. After all parts been produced and collected, they will be assembled and hand finished to high standard. The total time required to finish the model will be around 1 month. The total cost of the model is estimated at around $1,500.

The Usability

Amount all of the people that I have talked to in the last 2 weeks, only two, two people expressed an interest when I proposed a ground effect vehicle, one of them even suggested me to design a ground effect vehicle before I mentioned it. Many people’s idea of a car of the future is a reliable environmental friendly car with ease to use and low running cost.

Throughout the years, automotive industry always uses bigger engine and more powerful cars to move towards the future, it is a tested and trusted method, since it is the human nature to always desire more. However, the oil crisis, environmental issues and economy downturn has now tilted the balance, the gain on power and performance doesn’t make up the lose. But there are still people out there who need for speed, thrill and fun.

The vehicle will bring a new kind of fun in motoring, the kind that no one has ever experienced before.

The Function (how it works)

Since the word “ekranoplan” is treated as a wrong spelling in Microsoft Word, and mentioning this word to any ordinary person, most of their response will be “What?” Here is a little background information.

A ground effect vehicle (GEV) is one that attains level flight near the surface of the Earth, made possible by a cushion of high-pressure air created by the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface known as ground effect. Also known as a wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicle, flarecraft, sea skimmer, ekranoplan, or wing-in-surface-effect ship (WISE), a GEV can be seen as a transition between a hovercraft and an aircraft. The International Maritime Organization, (IMO), has classified the GEV as a ship. A GEV differs from an aircraft in that it cannot operate without ground effect, so its operating height is limited relative to its wingspan.

In recent years a large number of different GEV types have evolved for both civilian and military use. However, these craft are not in wide use as yet.

The vehicle can be driven normally like a conventional car on the road, but also can be flew as an ekranoplan skim over flat, open surface such as water or highway in the desert.

The Sustainability

The vehicle will be powered by electricity in the form of either hydrogen fuel cell or plug in electricity. In theory, if the electricity and hydrogen comes from renewable source, then this vehicle is completely zero emission. To deal with the low efficiency and low mileage of hydrogen fuel cell and electric system, given the right road condition, the ekranoplan feature of the vehicle can provide high speed with high fuel efficiency due to zero contact to the road surface. The lightweight material used on the car will contribute to the fuel economy.

Working out the significance / Innovation

The ekranoplan concept has never been used on civilian road vehicles before, and there was never an attempt to combine the convenience of a conventional car to the speed and special ability of an ekranoplan before. This project is trying to explore a new application of the old concepts (car and ekranoplan). Potentially, it can lead to a new motoring lifestyle, even a new motor sport in the future.

Package 1

Ekranoplan Car

  • Seats: 3 seats (1+2 layout)
  • Wheels: 4 wheels (4 wheel drive, can be switched to rear wheel drive)
  • Power: Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Plug-in Electric

Hydrogen stored as liquid or compressed in a tank behind the seats

  • Hub mounted electric motors in each wheel
  • Control: Drive by wire
  • Materials: Carbon Fiber or environmental friendly composite materials

Monocoque structure provides lightweight and stiffness. Also act as

impact absorb for safety

Low production volume

  • Function: The vehicle is a combination of a ground effect vehicle and a conventional car, when driving on long, flat, open surface, such as water and desert, the vehicle can be switched to ground effect vehicle mood to achieve high speed and smooth ride while using small amount of energy. Front wheels contain propellers, tilt to face forward when the vehicle is in ekranoplan mood, tile back into the wheels when driving as a conventional car.
  • For covering long distance in short time. Holiday or recreational use.

Package 2

Ekranoplan Car

  • Seats: 3 seats (1+2 layout)
  • Wheels: 4 wheels (rear wheel drive)
  • Power: Super charge ion battery pack with plug-in recharge and solar panels
  • Rear wheels with hub mounted electric motors, in the front of the fuselage contains two turbo fans in two channels powered by a front electric motor
  • Control: Drive by wire
  • Materials: Carbon Fiber or environmental friendly composite materials

Monocoque structure provides lightweight and stiffness. Also act as

impact absorb for safety

Low production volume

  • Function: The vehicle is a combination of a ground effect vehicle and a conventional car, when driving on long, flat, open surface, such as water and desert, the vehicle can be switched to ground effect vehicle mood to achieve high speed and smooth ride while using small amount of energy. At the front of the fuselage contain two turbo fans in two channels powered by an electric motor in the front to blow air underneath the vehicle when in ground effect mood.
  • For covering long distance in short time. Holiday or recreational use.

Package 3

Ekranoplan Car

  • Seats: 3 seats (1+2 layout)
  • Wheels: 4 wheels (rear wheel drive)
  • Power: Hydrogen and bio fuel hybrid internal combustion engine
  • Control: Drive by wire: electric throttle, electric steering
  • Materials: Carbon Fiber or environmental friendly composite materials

Monocoque structure provides lightweight and stiffness. Also act as

impact absorb for safety

Low production volume

  • Function: The vehicle is a combination of a ground effect vehicle and a conventional car, when driving on long, flat, open surface, such as water and desert, the vehicle can be switched to ground effect vehicle mood to achieve high speed and smooth ride while using small amount of energy. At the front of the fuselage contain two turbo fans in two channels powered by an electric motor in the front to blow air underneath the vehicle when in ground effect mood.
  • For covering long distance in short time. Holiday or recreational use.

Package 3

Ekranoplan Car

  • Power: Compressed Air Rotary engine mounted in 4 wheels

Compressed air rotary engine

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research on May 13, 2009 by edwinconan

www.engineair.com.au

Engineair Pty Ltd, based in Melbourne, Australia is a company focusing on the development of air motor technology based on a unique rotary piston concept. Different from conventional air motors, the Engineair motor, invented by Mr Angelo Di Pietro, has virtually eliminated internal wear and friction and offers superior performance at a wide variety of application requirements.

The craziest car in the world

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research on May 13, 2009 by edwinconan

Rinspeed Splash | Concept Cars

Rinspeed Splash concept

Swiss design company Rinspeed, makers of the Rinspeed Splash have created a true sports car which transforms into a hydrofoil speed boat capable of a very respectable 50 mph.

Because Rinspeed does not have the funding of large manufacturers the Splash’s styling has suffered, although this is partly due to the compromises necessary for the amphibious characteristics of the car, such as a narrow front end.

Transformation to a speed boat involves deploying a propeller at the rear, the large rear spoiler rolls under the car becoming the rear hydrofoil, and two hydrofoils integrated into the left and right sides of the splash swing down to form the front hydrofoils.
Naturally Rinspeed has constructed the Splash’s interior from waterproof materials

Ekranoplan

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research with tags , , , , on May 13, 2009 by edwinconan

Ground effect vehicle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A ground effect vehicle (GEV) is one that attains level flight near the surface of the Earth, made possible by a cushion of high-pressure air created by the aerodynamic interaction between the wings and the surface known as ground effect. Also known as a wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicle, flarecraft, sea skimmer, ekranoplan, or wing-in-surface-effect ship (WISE), a GEV can be seen as a transition between a hovercraft and an aircraft. The International Maritime Organization, (IMO), has classified the GEV as a ship.[1] A GEV differs from an aircraft in that it cannot operate without ground effect, so its operating height is limited relative to its wingspan.

In recent years a large number of different GEV types have evolved for both civilian and military use. However, these craft are not in wide use as yet.

An ekranoplan (Russian: экранопла́н, French: ecran screen + plan plane ) is a vehicle resembling an aircraft but which operates solely on the principle of ground effect (in Russian эффект экрана effekt ekrana – from which the name derived). Ground effect vehicles fly above any flat surface, with the height above ground dependent upon the size of the vehicle. Ekranoplan design was conceived by revolutionary Soviet engineer Rostislav Alexeev.Advantages and Disadvantages

A ground effect craft may have better fuel efficiency than an equivalent aircraft flying at low level due to the close proximity of the ground reducing lift-induced drag. There are also safety benefits in flying close to the water as an engine failure will not result in severe ditching. However, this particular configuration is difficult to fly even with computer assistance. Flying at very low altitudes, just above the sea, may be dangerous if the craft banks too far to one side while making a small radius turn.

A take-off must be into the wind, which in the case of a water launch, means into the waves. This creates drag and reduces lift. Two main solutions to this problem have been implemented. The first was used by the Russian Ekranoplan program which placed engines in front of the wings to provide more lift. The Caspian Sea Monster had eight such engines, some of which were not used once the craft was airborne. A second, more elegant approach, is to use some form of an air-cushion to raise the vehicle most of the way out of the water, making take-off easier. This is used by German Hanno Fischer in the Hoverwing (successor of the Airfisch ground effect craft), which uses some of the air from the engines to inflate a skirt under craft in the style of a sidewall hovercraft.

Carbon Fiber Monocoque

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research with tags , , , on May 13, 2009 by edwinconan

Nowadays, nearly every high performance car manufacturer and racing team design and produce carbon fiber monocoque chassis.  It provides a stiffer and more stable structure for the car and yet weight a lot less then aluminium structure. However, carbon fiber parts are expensive, so it can only be used on low volume production or one off vehicles.

Toyota 1/X Concept

DSC00544

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