Master Thesis Project
February, July 2013
Volkswagen Design Center Wolfsburg, ED2
Supervisors: Prof. James Kelly, Andreas Mindt
Studio chief: Marc Lichte
Traffic, pollution, rising costs, prohibitions... It 's enough to mention only a few of the issues that surround the automotive world today to understand why the car has increasingly become a negative symbol, losing the image that made it so much beloved in the past, when it was always in the first places in the ranking of desires.
But how to go back? How to recover that excitement and love for the four-wheels, fully aware of the current limitations and scenario?
Taking inspiration from Dakar, the race that summarizes the key points of excitement “made in Volkswagen”, the E-volution offers various solutions in response to this problem, trying at the same time to amplify and complete the advantages that the electric technologies will already bring in the coming decades.
3D renderings (Autodesk Alias)
As the vehicles of the African race, this two-seater sports car is designed to offer an agile and essential driving on all terrains. The short wheelbase, the compact size and the narrow rear wheels let every user easily reach the limit of the car, being able to have fun even at low speed, while preserving the safety and the autonomy of the batteries. The sensation of speed is not, however, missing thanks to the side visibility: the lamellae hide a transparent surface through which the driver can see the road running fast, a solution that allows to amplify this perception.
But the excitement is not bound only to the driving: E-volution wants to revive the vision of the car as a means of discovery and freedom: as it was the Beetle in the 50s, and as it still happens in the Dakar, the car becomes the perfect way to enjoy new adventures. The rough surface that surrounds the whole car at the bottom makes it possible to hide minor damages or the dirty procured in the off-road driving, leaving the user free to explore various places without any worries. Any damage would also be solved by replacing the single blades, making it easier and cheaper to repair.
3D renderings (Autodesk Alias)
Furthermore, the car has to go back to excite people even before and after its use. As in the Dakar, where drivers are thrilled to prepare and repair the vehicle, the owner can use the lamellae to easily fasten variety of accessories, designed to transform the car day after day, or during the years. Like a reflex camera, always improvable with new accessories, the vehicle becomes a constantly evolving platform, able to satisfy the desires and needs of the owner, who will always be involved in its care. The excitement will not fade over a few months after the purchase: the different kits designed after the commercialization of the vehicle will allow to always have an up to date car. The removable circular lights inspired from the iconic cars of the group 4 and the motorcycle-inspired license plate are just one example of how the car can be quickly transformed. It could be also possible to use the back space to hold a practical luggage compartment, have some kits that reflect the personality and the richness of the many Volkswagen Design Centers, or even accessory packages that celebrate the victories in the competitions, making the car a true representation of the brand.
Physical hard model_1/4 scale
Even the shape of the car expresses this desire to return to the excitement through concrete solutions: the tall and thin tail, that reveals the suspension creating curiosity in passers-by, reminds the world of the motorcycles: vehicles that can still communicate the essence of the mechanics, now lost on modern cars. This particular solution then fulfills the desire to create an extremely light and aerodynamic car, removing volume where not needed but without renouncing to a large cabin, for a great comfort on long trips.
Although following the canons of Volkswagen, E-volution also proposes a new step in terms of formal language, with a smoother and more sensual treatment of the volumes and the surfaces that express, also from an aesthetic point of view, this return to the lost excitement.
For further informations browse the thesis book!