Conceptum Works: Neue Klasse (Luxury Multi-Purpose Vehicle) by Ying Hern Pow
2012 - 2013, Silver A' Vehicle, Mobility and Transportation Design Award Winner
Passengers constantly seek greater comfort and luxury while travelling from point A to point B. However, during the course of travel, social hierarchy issue exists within the cabin, particularly in the MPV (Multi-purpose Vehicle) segment. The standard 3-row cabin creates the so-called First Class, Business Class and Economy Class within the car itself, which is unhealthy for family to traverse in. This project revolves around one and only one main purpose: can a car’s cabin be meaningful? Roy M. Goodman, famous New York City mayor once said “Remember that happiness is a way of travel - not a destination.” And it is this very phrase that the FYP is inspired by and the purpose of the design can almost be felt throughout the entire concept ideation process. As a keen driver, I have always dreaded the days that I would eventually drive one of these cars, out of necessity rather than desirability. This motivated me to work on such project instead of what most young aspiring design students would do – supercars, sports cars, etc. It was a tough decision, having to select the scope of research to work on. Also, MPVs are usually bought by family men, not usually by desire, but more by requirement. Buyers of MPVs value the space and utility qualities, to ferry their wife and kids and whatever else they bring along with them for a journey, school, work alike. As a result, MPVs are generally designed to be spacious and biased towards comfort, and not so much towards driving enjoyment. After all, when you have your kids in tow, the last thing you want to do is to throw your ride into corners vigorously. The bi-products of MPVs, unfortunately, are usually their overtly bulky body style and dull image.
The Neue Klasse fits itself in the people-carrier segment while demonstrating its luxurious cabin design. It establishes an entire new segment that addresses these issues with elegant solutions, while infusing Asian ideology of social interaction with a groundbreaking interior layout. The Lithium-sulphur-powered Neue Klasse is a Range-extender Electric Vehicle that seats 6-7 people, it also features foldable seats to allow extra-luxury seating layout for 4 (like the seats on the likes of Rolls Royce Phantom or Maybach 62) thanks to its extra-extended-wheel-base.
Design Challenges
The most challenging part of the project is packaging of the interior. The given space is limited, yet a large part of the space has to be allocated for creature comfort, while not sacrificing the packaging of other crucial parts such as chassis, batteries, suspensions, etc.
Production Technology
The car fully utilises Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) as its main body structure. Weight savings have been done to make way for heavy components such as batteries and electric motor. Also, the Neue Klasse is a REEV (Range-extender Electric Vehicle) that utilizes Lithium-sulphur battery power for extended driving range. Range Extender engine powered by biofuel such as palm oil is sustainable, yet provides ample power to recharge the electric drive train.
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