We don't need to remind you that saving weight in vehicles is pretty much the same thing as saving fuel. The hard part, of course, is building a vehicle that comes from the factory with as little excess weight as possible while still providing all the safety features and other options that people expect in their cars today. Maybe young designers can help us figure out the best way to thread this needle.

At the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show that's happening in November, a design challenge is being delivered to design studios around the world to show off a 1,500-pound (with occupants, 1,000 pounds without), 2+2 vehicle that, in the words of the press release:
is both comfortable and secure, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the emotional connection and beautiful styling consumers demand.
The show organizers say that studios from General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Smart, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo will participate. Expect to see lightweight materials and high-tech options in vehicles that try to include, "artistic beauty, comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance and user-friendliness of the vehicle." That's a tall order.

Last year's design challenge asked to see the Youthmobile vehicles of 2035. See those entries here.

[Source: LA Auto Show]

PRESS RELEASE

Automotive Design Studios Envision the 1,000 Pound Car

Design Studios from the U.S., Germany and Japan Participate in the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge

LOS ANGELES - August 17, 2010 - With consumers seeking to minimize consumption of the earth's resources, auto manufacturers and designers are challenged to meet these growing socio- and economic trends with style and finesse, all while adhering to government and safety regulations.

This year's Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge asks design studios to envision the 1,000 pound, 2+2 vehicle that is both comfortable and secure, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the emotional connection and beautiful styling consumers demand.

For the first time, participating design studios from not only the U.S., but also Germany and Japan, will compete against each other to showcase their talents. Design studios from General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz Germany (Smart), Mercedes-Benz Japan (Maybach), Mercedes-Benz U.S., Nissan, Toyota and Volvo will explore new ideas in automotive design as they contend for this top annual design honor.

"More than ever, automotive designers are able to experiment with hi-tech materials and alloys and this year's Design Challenge has provided them with the opportunity to use their creative talents to look into the future, exploring the hottest technologies to fulfill the needs of the consumer and the environment," said Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles and partner in The Design Academy, Inc.

The winning design will be announced Nov. 18 during the Design Los Angeles conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Judging criteria will be based upon not only meeting the weight constraint (1,500 pounds maximum with occupants), but also for the artistic beauty, comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance and user-friendliness of the vehicle.

Entries will be judged by Tom Matano, director of Industrial Design at San Francisco's Academy of Art University; Imre Molnar, dean of Detroit's College for Creative Studies; Stewart Reed, chairman, Transportation Design, Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and Clive Hawkins, president, Aria Product Development.

The Design Challenge is sponsored by Faurecia, one of the world's leading automotive suppliers specializing in seats, interiors, front ends and exhaust systems, as well as Yokohama Tire, which works closely with auto manufacturers in the U.S., Europe and Japan to develop tires for the latest concept vehicles.

About the Design Challenge

The Design Challenge is part of the Design Los Angeles automobile designers' conference that is held every year during the Los Angeles Auto Show Press Days, November 17-18, 2010. Each year, for the past seven years, a new Design Challenge theme is chosen and the major automotive design studios showcase their talents, competing against each other to flex their creativity and further explore new ideas in automotive design. The Design Los Angeles conference also gives designers access to design industry leaders and provides the opportunity to address common industry issues.

The competition has received rave reviews from journalists and extensive media exposure throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. More information, including images, is available at LAAutoShow.com/DesignChallenge.html
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