We’ve saved the best for last as the Cadillac Aera has won the 2010 LA Design Challenge! You only need to take one look at this concept car and it becomes painfully obvious that Batman would have scooped one up to add to his list of Bat rides. This is the Cadillac Aera, an amalgamation of Cadillac’s philosophy of “Art and Science” that dives into a whole new world of innovative and ultra lightweight vehicles. Realistically speaking, the chances of ever seeing a car like this at your local Starbucks are as probable as winning 100 lotteries in a single year. Unfortunate, we know.
As General Motors’ entry to the 2010 LA Design Challenge, the Cadillac Aera is a ridiculously lightweight – it weighs 1,000 lbs - 2+2 coupe that takes the boundaries of automotive design and pushes it to levels that are reserved for sci-fi movies.
Taking into consideration the Design Challenge’s requirements of building an efficient, lightweight 2+2 vehicle - weighing no more than 1,000 lbs - that minimizes consumer dependence on natural resources, the Aera’s body is made from a highly advanced structure that uses a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame, a structure that’s eerily similar to configurations found in nature like in the grouping of bubbles. The structure is formed through an alloy utilizing, semi-solid freeform manufacturing that creates a strong yet lightweight frame that’s grown into a single part lattice structure.
Full story and Press Release after the jump.
The Aera also uses a highly efficient technology called Pneumatic Drive System, a technology that harnesses the power of compressed air to serve as an engine, promoting smoothness and quietness that Cadillac’s are known for. The PDS has a 10,000 psi composite air storage tank that is capable of driving 1,000 miles before refueling.
Another technology found in the Aera are pressurized air cells that can also be found in the airbags of the NASA Mars Rover. These cells coat the vehicle’s exterior skin, promoting both safety and comfort. General Motors also opted to do away with body panels and glass in favor of a flexible polymer skin that maximizes the vehicle’s aerodynamic qualities.
If all these systems aren’t enough to give confuse you, the Cadillac Aera also comes with an All-In-One wheel system that serves as a do-it-all program that combines a number of automotive functions into one, including rotary actuator propulsion, steering, and suspension functions. There’s also a vehicle-to-vehicle communication that actively promotes safety among all the cars.
The Cadillac Aera (Aero + Era) launches Cadillac’s philosophy of “Art and Science” into new territory by taking an innovative and stylistic approach to ultra-light weight vehicle design. Aera is a 1000 lb, 2+2 touring coupe, with a range of 1000 miles before refueling; attributes achieved without compromising size, capacity and safety.
Optimum efficiency, minimum parts
Aera’s highly advanced body structure utilizes a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame. This polyhedral structure is similar to configurations found consistently in nature, e.g., inside the grouping of bubbles. The structure is formed from unique, alloy-utilizing, semi-solid freeform manufacturing, creating a naturally strong, extremely lightweight frame. All major body parts, including interior components, are essentially “grown” into a single part lattice structure.
Renowned Cadillac smoothness and quietness are accomplished using the harnessed power of compressed air via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System (PDS). Its 10,000 psi composite air storage tank has ample capacity for a 1000 mile range. Flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior skin, similar to material developed for the NASA Mars Rover airbags, enhance passive safety and interior comfort. The flexible polymer skin optimizes aerodynamics and functions as an ultra-lightweight alternative to conventional body panels and glass.
Additional technologies include an All-In-One (AIO) wheel system, combining rotary actuator propulsion, steering and suspension functions. A drive by wireless system decreases the mass of electrical components. Vehicle to vehicle communication (V2V) promotes active safety.
The Cadillac Aera embodies a stylistic, lightweight, minimalist approach to long distance luxury touring.