This year’s Michelin Challenge Design theme “HALF! Lightweight with Passion” asked participants to explore how design contributes to and impacts the ongoing effort to develop more lightweight vehicles that achieve greater fuel efficiency.
The theme resulted in more than 900 registrants representing 72 countries. The top three projects were selected by a jury made up of designers from OEM studios, independent design professionals, and design educators.
The jury evaluated the works based on the following criteria: relevance to the theme; concept originality; design value and quality; developmental potential; and design displayability.
The winning projects, along with 12 other finalists, have been presented at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in the Michelin Challenge Design exhibit.
eLink by Jorge Biosca (Spain)
Jorge Biosca’s project, called eLink, is “a six-passenger light vehicle structure, with a highly efficient powertrain, combined with an adaptive camber control for tire rubber zone selection.”
The concept is easy to build and recycle and its materials can be re-used in new or different applications. The vehicle is very lightweight which allows it to easily reach high-speeds with a small amount of energy consumption.
The Exploder II has a four wheel drive system, each one of these wheels uses the Michelin Active Wheel technology and an individual electric motor that controls the vehicle direction linked to the steering wheel by a wireless system.
The Michelin Active wheels toe-in to allow the vehicle to rotate about a pivot point that is located at the center of the vehicle.
The main body of the Exploder II is made of stretched lightweight tensile fabric with integrated thin film solar panels on a tubular structure made of Thermoplastic Composite Materials. These new materials are tougher, lighter, stiffer, and have an infinite shelf life, and can be recycled and perform better during collisions in order to use considerably less energy.
About the Designer
Jorge Biosca is a freelance modeler and design consultant in Valencia, Spain, with a degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic University of Valencia and a master’s degree in automotive design from the University CEU San Pablo, Valencia, Spain.
PolyPlus by Song Wei Teo (Singapore)
Song Wei Teo’s PolyPlus was “influenced by the use of vacuum-formed plastic packaging that protects its contents. Vacuum-formed plastics are inexpensive, light, tough and can be molded into different shapes easily.”
“The design has to be lightweight with the use of manufacturing methods, materials and fit a family of four to six.”
To do this he reduced the total parts, and introduced new materials never used in the car design industry (Aerospace spec carbonate plastic) and manufacturing techniques – vacuum forming takes away required chassis structure design and thus save a lot of weight.
About the Designer
Song Wei Teo was born in Singapore. He attended Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore with a degree in Industrial Design.
He is currently in his final year studying Automotive Design at Coventry University, United Kingdom.
Dolphin by Liu Shun, Gao Zhiqiang & Chen Zhilei (China)
Liu Shun led his teammates, Gao Zhiqiang and Chen Zhilei, all students at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, designed a concept with a body entirely made of transparent glass and carbon fiber frame, called Dolphin, which is powered by maglev DC motors.
“Our concept makes people feel sport, science and technology. It also can accommodate the members of a family.”
“The structure of car body is a full transparent glass and carbon fibers frame and the lightweight design is not only to ensure security purposes, but also to greatly reduce the energy consumption.”
About the Designers
Shun Liu, 20, was born in China and is currently in his fourth year studying Product Design at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He also has a great interest in Transportation Design. He was awarded “The best luxury concept” in the CarDesignNews competition with Zhiqiang Gao.
Zhiqiang Gao, 23, was born in China and is currently studying at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He partnered with Shun Liu and was awarded “The best luxury concept” in the CarDesignNews competition. He also completed an internship with Volkswagen in Shanghai last summer.
Zhilei Chen, 26, was born and raised in China, He received his Master’s degree from Wuhan University of Technology. He majored in vehicle engineering and opened his own studio for car design services and training.
2013 Michelin Challenge Design Jury
- Jury Chairman: Stewart Reed, Chair of the Transportation Design Department, Art Center College of Design
- Chris Chapman, Chief Designer, Hyundai America Technical Center
- Dave Marek, Division Director Advanced Design, Honda R&D-Americas
- Chuck Pelly, Founder, Designworks USA, The LA Design Challenge, and The Design Academy
- Rich Plavetich, General Manager, Nissan Design America
- Frank Saucedo, Director, General Motors Advanced Design Studio
- Freeman Thomas, Director, Strategic Design, Ford Motor Company
- Geoff Wardle, Director of Mobility, Industrial Design, Art Center College of Design
In discussing this year’s works, Chapman felt “there were a lot of aspects to it that really had to force people to think…not everything that’s lightweight is going to be only carrying two people. It is a challenge, and I think most of them lived up to that aspect.”
Saucedo, having served on this jury XX times, says that Michelin Challenge Design “not only test the younger students, it tests professionals, so I think it’s great.”
Newcomer Chuck Pelly had this to say: “The incredible work that this competition has contributed is inspiring, and I really didn’t know the scope until today.”
Plavetich also joined the jury for the first year, and says, “It’s always fun to come to an event like this, where you’re looking at entries submitted from young people all around the world…you have these solutions coming in from all around the world, some of them way out there maybe. But there’s usually a grain or a nugget of something in there, there’s something that can inspire you, to take back to my job at Nissan and make our vehicles much more interesting.”
Several of the jurors this year have given their time to this competition many times. Among the veterans were Chapman, Marek, Saucedo, Thomas, and Wardle. Newcomers included Plavetich and Pelly.
“Through the quest for vehicle weight reduction, designers have to consider factors such as expressions of safety and style within a lightweight package and how these guide the materials selection and fabrication processes,” said Stewart Reed, Chair of the Transportation Design Department, Art Center College of Design, and Michelin Challenge Design jury chairman.
“Addressing the real-world challenges that advanced vehicle designers face has been a hallmark of the Michelin Challenge Design and the 2013 theme continues the legacy of identifying the talented designers who may help create tomorrow’s vehicles.”
“Now more than ever, successful automotive design relies on close cooperation between design, engineering, manufacturing and planning,” said John Moloney, vice president of original equipment marketing for North and South America.
“The experts that make up the Michelin Challenge Design jury understand the art and science of automotive innovation.”