The original Model T was a game-changer. Its modular design allowed the Tin Lizzy to be mass produced on an assembly line and was the car that put America on wheels. So it might strike you as odd that the Blue Oval chose a design penned by a European university as the best modern interpretation of what a Model T would look like in 2015. For their efforts, the team of eight students and engineers earned the ika (Institute of Automotive Engineering Aachen) from Aachen University in Germany $25,000 in scholarship funds.
Any modern vehicle must take the environment and its emissions into account, and the new T concept is no exception. With three occupants -- the driver is front and center with a passenger on either side -- and a small pickup bed in back, the concept is definitely ready for work. Other body styles would be possible on the modular architecture. If produced, the University estimates it would cost $6,780 to build in base form and would let off 100 g/km of carbon emissions per kilometer, with hybrid and electric versions costing more and emitting less. It's a good design, but we could do without the upright, retro-style front grille.
FORD MODEL T CONTEST: THE ONLY EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY TO ENTER WINS THE WORLDWIDE COMPETITION
AACHEN, Germany, October, 2008 – A century after the Model T put the world on wheels, Ford Motor Company has announced the winners of a four-month competition that challenged five universities from around the world to create a revolutionary vehicle concept for the 21st century.
The only European university to take part – the ika (Institute of Automotive Engineering Aachen) from Aachen University, Germany – has won the challenge and $25,000 in scholarship funds for delivering an innovative concept that embodied the spirit of the Model T and best met the criteria of the challenge.
The core team at the ika, consisting of eight students and engineers, developed a concept which had to meet certain requirements set by Ford: the vehicle had to be simple, lightweight, practical, and durable, offering a range of at least 200 kilometers and be able to accommodate a minimum of two passengers. Perhaps the most challenging criterion was that the base target price should not exceed $7,000.
The result is a modular vehicle concept – the Model T for the year 2015 – with an estimated base price of $6,780.
The base model is a mini-size pick-up version of a three-seater, where the passengers are accommodated next to each other. With the driver's seat centrally located, there are no extra costs for right-hand-drive or left-hand-drive versions. Additional weight and costs can also be saved by making only the driver's seat adjustable.
The basic vehicle weighs just 800 kilograms when ready to run but without occupants. That weight would increase if the petrol engine is combined with an electric motor to become a full hybrid vehicle, or when it is converted into a pure battery electric driven car.
Whichever method of propulsion is specified for the vehicle, this will affect the cost. For example, an electric-only system will cost double that of the standard gasoline unit. The CO2 emissions also vary between 54 and 100 grams per kilometre depending on the chosen propulsion system.
The simple flexibility of the frame structure allows for new derivatives to be developed without high investment. Through this, the concept complies with the requirement to adapt easily to different market conditions and customer demands. The vehicle even incorporates elements of Ford's European 'kinetic design' form language.
"We are very proud, as the only European institute, to have been able to participate in this exciting competition. Then to top it off with winning is not only very satisfying, but also confirms that German engineers and students have the capability to compete successfully on the international stage," said Professor Stefan Gies, managing director of the ika.
Aachen University, as well as the ika, have worked in close co-operation with Ford of Europe for many decades. In particular, they are working very intensively with the Ford Research Centre in Aachen, which is the only Ford research facility of its type outside the US. Charles Wu, the Managing Director of the Ford Research Centre congratulated Aachen University and said: "The high quality of their concept impressed us deeply and confirms that Ford of Europe has made the right choice in co-operating with such a strong and capable academic partner."
The Ford jury also named the Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, as second winner.