Peugeot, please. Eight high-tech, alt-fueled concepts, with high-res images

Around the globe, Peugeot fans want a fuel cell car, especially if it looks like it glided out of a movie that shows a future isn't overrun by menacing robots or disease. The winner of Peugeot's fourth P.L.E.A.S.E. design competition, the Flux, is just that car, and it beat out a wide selection of 4,028 other concepts, including a three-wheeled battery-powered car that gets my award for best-named vehicle in the competition, considering: the Concept Liion.

The subject of the competition was P.L.E.A.S.E., which stands for "Pleasure through its Lightness and its Efficiency while remaining Accessible through its Simplicity and Environmentally-friendly in its design." The lightweight Flux nails those ideas with its (conceptual) "non-polluting fuel cell engine." If only it were as easy to build as it is to put on paper.

Mihai Panaitescu, a Romanian design student studying in Turin, designed the Flux, and, at only 20, is the competition's youngest winner. This car will now be built in a life-size model to be displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and will be included in an upcoming Xbox game, either later this year or in 2008.

Don't take this like a cop-out or anything, but these cars are all winners, really. Getting designers around the world (see the list after the jump) to think of sleek, lightweight and alternative-energy vehicles is a great thing, and Peugeot can't adapt some of these ideas to their production cars quick enough. We've put together a high-resolution gallery of images of all the top eight finalists concepts. Click on the thumbnails to enter. Enjoy. For more information, visit the official design site.

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[Source: Peugeot]

· Fourth on-line Peugeot Design Competition attracts over 4,000 entries

· Mihai is the youngest winner of the competition

· The Flux is a fun vehicle that suits a variety of lifestyles

Driven by the desire to design a car that would give an enjoyable experience to each of its occupants, Mihai Panaitescu, a Romanian design student studying in Turin, created the Flux, the winning project in the fourth on-line Peugeot Design Competition. The runners up in second and third places were Njooy (Wesley Saikawa from Brazil – aged 27) and Allscape (Gustavo Ferrero from Venezuela – aged 29).

At 20 years old, the youngest ever winner of the Peugeot Design Competition, Mihai submitted a project that fits in perfectly with its environment. The Flux is a fun vehicle that suits a variety of lifestyles.

The Flux design is very much at home in an urban environment. Its compact size makes it easy to use. Its classic design, combined with a sporty, modern feel, blends in perfectly with the urban landscape. The sophisticated engine ensures a quiet driving experience, while the Flux stands out without being ostentatious.

Mihai's Flux is also a pleasure to drive on the open road. Mounted on large wheels, the Flux provides excellent postural comfort for its occupants, wraparound seats with multiple settings, and is ergonomic – the driver has ready access to all essential functions – and is good looking. Its very simple design creates a feeling of serenity regardless of the distance to be covered.

Flux is also a hi-tech vehicle with a non-polluting fuel cell engine, in-car communication facilities and high-performance lighting, based on LED technology.

The Flux came out on top as the P.L.E.A.S.E. car due to its originality, the quality of its presentation, and its consistency with the theme of the competition.

The design competition

For the fourth edition of the design competition, Peugeot invited designers to submit their vision of a car with the ability to please: P.L.E.A.S.E. Over and above designing a car that would please in a purely abstract sense, they were asked to comply with a set of precise specifications: imagine a type of car that affords pure driving Pleasure through its Lightness and its Efficiency while remaining Accessible through its Simplicity and Environmentally-friendly in its design.

This theme met with a large response, with 4,029 projects submitted to the website, setting a new record for the number of projects; for the record, the third edition generated 3,800 projects.

The Flux project came out top at the end of a three-stage selection process, between October 2006 and February 2007. Initially, 30 projects were short-listed by members of the Peugeot Style Centre. These were then put forward for an online vote, to determine a list of 10 finalists. The prize winner and runners-up were selected subsequently by a panel of judges chaired by Frédéric Saint-Geours, the Director General of Automobiles Peugeot.

For this fourth edition of the design competition, even better prizes were on offer. The winning project will not only be built as a full scale model, in the form of a concept car to be exhibited at the next Frankfurt Motor Show, but will also feature as the star of a future game on the Xbox 360. The winner also receives a cheque for €6,000, with the second and third placed designers receiving €3,000 and €2,000 respectively.

The competition in detail

The schedule:

The first three phases of the competition ran in succession from September until presentation of the La Griffe trophy on 6 March at the Geneva Motor Show. After the Motor Show, there will be a further three phases before presentation of the winning project at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007:

– the full scale project production phase, from March to September 2007;

– parallel integration in a future Xbox 360 video game, from the autumn of 2007 to the beginning of 2008;

– presentation of the concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007.

The panel of judges:

The panel of judges at different stages was composed of Xbox and Peugeot representatives, including top managers from the Peugeot Design Centre, but also journalists and Internet users who voted on line.
A few statistics

For its fourth edition, the competition broadened its appeal with more than 4,000 projects submitted to the site between October and December. The number of projects was higher compared to the previous edition, +5% compared to 2004 (3,800 projects), thereby setting a new record for the number of entries.

The competition broadened its international scope with 113 countries represented compared to 107 for the previous edition. 70% of projects were submitted by designers from countries outside Western Europe.

More visits to

This competition, held exclusively via the web site, benefited greatly from the enthusiasm brought about by the theme. The online community generated by the design competition doubled compared to the previous edition, with a total of 34,000 members. More than 2 million pages were viewed in the course of 500,000 visits.

Lastly, with 116,000 votes polled on the Internet between 21 December and 23 January, visitors showed genuine enthusiasm for the projects on show, with an average of 3,400 votes registered per day.

The 10 finalists (in alphabetical order)

Allscape Gustavo Ferrero – Venezuela – aged 29
Cub Ka Dan – China – aged 26
E - MOTION Dario Gagula* – Germany – aged 23
Flux Mihai Panaitescu** – Italy – aged 20 – Student
Liion Cristian Sano – Romania – aged 27
Miawoo Noumid Bendifallah – France – aged 23
Njooy Wesley Saikawa – Brazil – aged 27
Plaire James Ma – USA – aged 35
Speedlite Nemanja Lilicic – Yugoslavia – aged 23
910 Ertug Yenidemir – Turkey – aged 25

Participants residing in Germany of Croatian origin* and in Italy of Romanian origin**.
The top 10 in terms of number of projects by country

China 525
France 477
Turkey 212
Mexico 161
Russia 153
United States 123
United Kingdom 122
Italy 118
Argentina 103
Colombia 99

The distribution of projects by geographical area shows that mainly European countries are represented, with a share of 51%. Most of the 10 projects voted for by Internet users were the work of designers originating from outside Western Europe.

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