Design Approach and Package

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
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