What could we possibly be driving 30 years from now? Probably nothing from The Jetsons (yet), but a certain design contest featured at the Los Angeles Auto Show might give us some clues. This year, General Motors has entered the fray hoping to make a statement.
The LA Auto Show 1,000 lb. Car Design Challenge looks to bring out the creative potential of our World’s automakers. Along with Cadillac, 8 other brands answered the call to participate including Smart, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Volvo and even Maybach. However, Cadillac is the only brand representing the United States in the entire contest, as neither Ford nor Chrysler have an entrant. Interestingly, this is the first year in the contest’s 7-year history that invitations were extended to design studios outside of the U.S.- thus the lopsided representation of import brands.
Aside from seeing which studio can design the best anorexic futurecar, other requirements include the ability to comfortably seat four adult passengers, as well as delivering a dynamic drive and cutting-edge styling that would attract consumers. Oh, and they must be incredibly environmentally friendly.
Cadillac’s design car, dubbed the Aera (Greek for “wind”,) is a 2+2 touring coupe, that GM claims can go 1,000 miles before having to stop thanks to a state-of-the-art Pneumatic Drive System (PDS). PDS is a very plausible, very real form of locomotion that we could easily see more of in the coming years. The system uses compressed air to power the car, similar to cars such as the existing models developed by MDI– only in this case the vehicle is much better looking. The Aera’s air tank is made of a composite material, which is capable of holding up to 10,000 psi. The skin of the car is a polymer (a.k.a. plastic) and was chosen as a lightweight alternative to conventional metal and glass.
Rounding up the list of innovations include what GM is calling an All-In-One (AIO) wheel system, which combines rotary actuator propulsion, steering and suspension functions- a step forward from GM’s Skateboard Platform seen at the 2002 NAIAS that used electric motors located within the wheels instead of a conventional engine as propulsion. GM also resurrected its drive-by wireless system as first seen in its Hy-Wire Concept technology back from 2002. The experimental set up helps the Aera make weight by reducing the amount of electric and mechanical components needed for the car. Vehicle to Vehicle communication (V2V) is also present and accounted for to promote active vehicle safety.
All of these features, and the design team still managed to keep the Art and Science design language of Cadillac intact. If we were to call the shots, we’d have our winner already.
2010 Cadillac Aera Concept
Source: LA Auto Show