Thursday, April 23, 2009

Full-scale model of 5th Peugeot Design Competition winner revealed in Shanghai

A life-sized model of Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar's RD concept, for which the 26 year old Columbian designer won the 5th Peugeot Design competition, is on display at the Peugeot stand in Shanghai. The 'RD' concept was chosen via an online internet poll and a competition jury headed by Peugeot's Managing Director, Jean Philippe Collin in September last year.

The theme for the 2008 competition was 'Imagine the Peugeot in the worldwide megapolis of tomorrow'. Designers were asked to create images of a car 'for use in the center of the great urban cities of the future' which nonetheless incorporated recognized Peugeot styling cues and embodied key 21st century values. Four criteria were essential: environmental friendliness, social harmony, interactive mobility and economic efficiency.

The RD is a low-riding, squat three-wheeled single-seater promising on-road agility, ease of operation and 'irreproachable road-holding', says Peugeot, and looking solid and robust as well as futuristic. Yet whilst it retains an outline reminiscent of classic custom-built 'choppers', the RD reverses the usual trike layout by having its wide single wheel at the rear. The driver thus looks out from a full-length screen between the front wheels: think of this as a lower-slung, more aggressive modern take on the bubble-car theme, perhaps - Heinkel meets Hell's Angel.

Access to the driver's capsule is via the top-hinged front screen, which doubles as an opening canopy, and the driver's molded seat is nestled in front of the motor and electric propulsion system. The driver uses joystick- and tiller-influenced controls, a head-up display system and voice-messaging, which reduces the need for switchgear, an instrument panel and other cabin clutter.

The articulated structure gives flexibility to the RD's ride and handling, and 'the ability to easily thread its way through urban traffic'. Thanks to its electric powertrain, the RD is both silent and emissions-free.

Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar is from the small industrial town of Tunja and says that he has been working with clay, sculpting and modeling, since childhood. He abandoned his language studies to attend the Industrial Design School at the National University of Bogota, and has recently graduated.

The competition attracted over 2,500 entries from 95 different countries; a shortlist of 30 was selected, and then over 132,000 votes were cast online to choose ten finalists. The RD was pronounced the winner at last autumn's Paris Motor Show, and Torres Tovar has received a prize of €10,000, an XBox 360 console and a 1/45-scale model of his design - as well as a very worthwhile and well-deserved boost to his CV and the start of his career.