In the wake of Volkswagen displaying their Chameleon battery and solar powered 1964 bus, a Montreal, PQ-based design firm has announced that they have won a special jury prize at the Caravan Salon Dusseldorf in Germany for their solar-diesel hybrid Westfalia camper concept. So far the camper seems to exist only as a series of computer generated images and a video. It's modeled after the old type 2 Westfalia campers with the pop-up top. Unlike the VW concept, this appears to be a new vehicle with design inspired by the original micro-bus, much like the micro-bus concept that VW showed a couple of years back. This new design is clad in what looks like a light maple veneer. The specs list either gas or diesel hybrid power combined combined with rooftop solar cells. The site lists a target price of $69,000 but no ETA appears to be listed anywhere. This could be a very cool vehicle if it ever comes to fruition. See the Verdier information along with more images and a video after the jump
The new Westfalia Verdier Solar Power.
As with the original Westfalia and the hippy culture, the new VERDIER Solar Power is part of a new culture with its own rituals. It is based on GREEN ENERGY and the PLEASURE to be SELF-SUFFICIENT. This new culture also believes that technology should allow people to understand nature and its power.
The Verdier Solar Power wins a design award.
The design team has received the Special Prize from the Jury at the Caravaning Desing Award 2006/2007, Innovation for new mobility. The prize was awarded during the Caravan Salon Dusseldorf in Germany. This Salon is one of Europe's largest caravaning exhibition and trade show.
The jury and jury comment micro site.
The Verdier Solar Power model offers several innovations such as:
- A system of intelligent solar panels called " SUN TRACKER ". This system makes it possible to provide electricity to the on-board accessories while the vehicle is in a stationary position. An on-board computer and a GPS (Global Positioning System) calculate the optimal position for the SUN TRACKER.
- A pneumatic suspension, which lowers the vehicle and sets its structure on the tires for improved comfort and a better stabilization in a stationary position.
- The sliding half-door on the passenger side has an integrated folding staircase, which makes the second stage area accessible from outside the vehicle.
- The passenger seat is transformed mechanically into stairs, so that the second stage area can be easily reached from inside.
- A swivel cooking range makes it possible to cook outside as well as inside.
- In the second stage area, a dividing wall with a sliding door and multiple windows is made of a thick and expandable fabric.
- And of course, a multi-media computer with a wireless Internet connection is also useful where the communication technology is available.
VERDIER Light Caravaning has set for itself the goal of enhancing the field of the light recreational vehicle. VERDIER Light Caravaning gives the motoring industry and its associated manufacturers the opportunity to bring their notoriety and prestige at a higher level of autonomous travel enjoyment.
The designer ALEXANDRE VERDIER has a degree in philosophy from the University of Montreal, Canada, and a second degree in Industrial Design. He also studied at the University of Central England - Birmingham Institute Of Art & Design.
PROJECT TIME LINE
Writing: the First Handbook of the perfect camper. One year of traveling in Europe with a VW is the start of a handbook with observations, notes and comments on what it needs to be improved. It also contains observations from a WESTFALIA meeting in Europe. The question then becomes: How do these people live the Westfalia culture ?
The Second Handbook of the perfect camper:
It contains observations about four persons living in a 1979 Westfalia for a period of two months traveling across the United States (Montreal - Salt-Lake City - Arizona - Baton Rouge - Miami - New-York - Montreal).
First design of the VERDIER caravan
Second design of the VERDIER caravan
University of Central England - Birmingham Institute Of Art & Design with supervision by Carol Smith.
Third design on the VERDIER caravan
University of Montreal School of Industrial Design, supervised by Denise Roy with Alain Dardenne as consultant.
- Analysis of the ergonomic usability of an VW WESTFALIA 1990 with Steve Vezeau as consultant.
- Production of a scaled model VERDIER Caravaning in stereolithography sponsored by Quebec Energy Research Institute.
VERDIER Design of the fourth version
VERDIER fourth version: Winner of the 2004 Michelin Challenge Design - Detroit, Michigan USA
VERDIER Light Caravaning received a letter from Jorg Lehmann, WESTFALIA VAN CONVERSION, GERMANY (DAIMLER CHRYSLER) : ''...we have seen your ''PROPOSAL VW WESTFALIA REDESIGN'' which looks very nice and is a good idea, probably for future Vans used for the Recreational Vehicle Market...''
Winner of a ''Creative Award'' and ''ITA Award'' for the Verdier.ca website.
The official web site has been seen by 500,000 visitors.
358 Westfalia enthusiasts contributed comments and suggestions on the VERDIER caravan.
Design of the VERDIER Solar Power.
VERDIER Solar Power has received the Special Prize from the Jury at the Caravaning Desing Award 2006/2007 Innovation for new mobility. The prize was awarded during the Caravan Salon Dusseldorf in Germany. This Salon is one of Europe's largest caravaning exhibition and trade show.
Dusseldorf trip micro site.
PRESENTATION OF THE COMPLETE VERDIER RANGE:
SOLAR POWER (High range) Target price. $ 69,000 US Caravaning and traveling
AIR POWER (Mid range) Target price. $ 38 000 US Day to day family van with the deluxe windows roof top .
GROUND POWER (Base model) Target price: $ 26 000 US Utilitarian, commercial and delivery van.
VERDIER SOLAR POWER CARAVAN COMPUTER INTERFACE INCLUDING:
- Weather optimized travel plan - following the sun
- Historical and ecological comments during the trip
- Directory of campground
- Interlink system that allows getting and leaving information, pictures, video and recommendations for other VERDIER's users
- Energy consumption dashboard (Optional Child-friendly interface: Education and learning about wise energy consumption)
- Trip diary on the website at www.verdier.ca/live-diary
Philosophy -- industrial design
Luc de BELLEFEUILLE
Industrial design -- marketing and communication expert
Industrial design -- modeling and animation expert
Industrial design -- flash expert