Clemson students show Deep Orange 5 concept at GM headquarters [w/video]

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  • Image Credit: Clemson University
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It's getting increasingly hard to drive in many cities around the world as populations rise and governments crack down on emissions. Graduate students from the International Center for Automotive Research at Clemson University have an idea how to help, though. Each year, they work with an automaker to create a concept car from the ground up, and 2015's Deep Orange 5 in partnership with General Motors is a solution for the future.

With a debut at the GM Renaissance Center, Deep Orange 5 is meant for young drivers who are strapped with student loans in the cities of 2020. With little room to maneuver and not much money to spend on a vehicle, this pod is supposed to maximize utility and connectivity at a low price. Its egg shape uses little space, and the double-hinged sliding doors make getting in easy. Inside, there's a fully digital cockpit for the driver and front passenger and four reconfigurable seats that swivel around. It also has the ability to display messages outside through a color display in the doors.

Each year the ICAR students research a vehicle segment and tackle it with a concept. Deep Orange 4 was a BMW X4 with a pickup bed, and number three was a hybrid, five-door hatchback with help from Mazda. Deep Orange 6 and 7 have already started development with sponsorship from Toyota and BMW, respectively.

The video below provides a deeper look into the creation of Deep Orange 5 and the inspiration for it.
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CU-ICAR students unveil Deep Orange 5 vehicle concept at GM headquarters

April 22, 2015

DETROIT - Students at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) unveiled its newest concept vehicle, sponsored by General Motors, at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Deep Orange 5, the fifth generation of Clemson's concept vehicle program, is designed for generations Y and Z (young adults) who will live in mega cities in 2020. The vehicle enables social networking and mobility to go hand-in-hand, ultimately forming an emotional connection between the user and vehicle.

"Deep Orange 5 is about creating a better value proposition for young adults that have little money to spare, less interest in vehicle ownership than previous generations, yet need a personal mobility solution that aligns with their complex lifestyle," said Paul Venhovens, BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive Systems Integration in the department of automotive engineering at CU-ICAR and leads the Deep Orange program. "The vehicle was designed by Art Center College of Design, and engineered by automotive engineering graduate students with the characteristics of an urban lifestyle put first and foremost."

Some Deep Orange 5 features:

A reconfigurable seating concept to enable various vehicle usage modes, including driving, working, relaxing and storage;

A digital cockpit that enables the display of unique content for both the driver and passengers;

A color display integrated into both front doors facing outwards allowing the driver and occupants to display digital messages to the outside world;

Double-hinged doors that allow for comfortable egress and ingress of the vehicle in tight urban parking spaces as well as improved vehicle access for users with disabilities; and

A two-piece rear hatch concept that allows for easy access in tight parking spaces.

"The students really immersed themselves into the personas of youth living in urban settings while designing this vehicle," explained Stewart Reed, the chair of Art Center College of Design Transportation Design. "A uniquely functional and attractive design was achieved, which perfectly houses the multipurpose nature of this vehicle."

Janet Goings, associate director of research and development at General Motors, said, "Our experience working with these students was exceptional. They came up with creative and innovative ideas for their defined target consumers. We were very impressed with their holistic approach and final result of this accelerated product development process."

"Each year, Clemson develops a new and distinct prototype vehicle with a specific market focus and technical objectives," said Suzanne Dickerson, director of international business development at CU-ICAR. "This year we had the pleasure of working with General Motors, who asked us to work on some grand challenges. This vehicle is exciting and reflects a unique approach to targeting this hard-to-capture consumer segment."

Deep Orange is a framework that immerses graduate automotive engineering students into the world of a future original equipment manufacturer and/or supplier. Students, multi-disciplinary faculty and participating industry partners work collaboratively to produce a new vehicle prototype each year. The sixth- and seventh-generation Deep Orange concepts are under development and sponsored by Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW Group, respectively.

For more information about Deep Orange, visit To view photos of Deep Orange 5, visit Flickr.


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