Apparently, even rickshaws can be turned into futuristic concept cars, and shockingly enough, this one has a Maybach badge on it. Sure, it’s only a concept vehicle, but can you imagine riding the streets of the Far East on a Maybach rickshaw in the not-so-distant future?
Yep, we can’t either.
Combining the all-important elements of ultra-light design with a luxurious exterior and interior, the Maybach DRS – De-Riki-Sha – is about the most awesome electrically powered luxury rickshaw we’ve ever seen. Okay, we haven’t really seen anything like this before, which, if you really think about it, makes the concept ride even more awesome.
As part of Mercedes’ entry to the Los Angeles Design Challenge, the Maybach DRS was designed at their Advanced Design Studio in Tokyo, keeping in mind of the requirements of building a four-seat vehicle that weighs no more than 1,000 pounds.
The Maybach DRS is another example of a concept vehicle that blends high-end luxury with the very latest in automotive technology. The car is made from a DNA cocoon that undergoes metamorphosis, effectively making it the world’s first naturally manufactured vehicle.
More details and a press release after the jump
We don’t really know how to describe the Maybach DRS, other than to say that the design reminds us of a giant pea pod with two oversized wheels on each side and a Maybach badge on the front.
Similar to how the Biome Concept is made, the Maybach DRS is built through a rather complicated metamorphosis process stemming from a DNA cocoon with the end result being an extremely lightweight vehicle with enough luxury elements to make even the most high-brow blush.
Structurally speaking, the Maybach DRS uses carbon fiber and organic composite materials for its frame whereas the doors and windows are made entirely of injection-moulded polycarbonate. The luxury rickshaw – that’s going to get some getting used to – will use a set of 20kW electric motors that is located at the vehicle’s wheel hubs. The interior will come with its own on-board computer that allows customers the opportunity to ride around town with utmost comfort and luxury, on board the Maybach DRS.
We’re not going to pretend that we’re completely enamored with this one, but that’s why it’s called a concept. There’s an infinitesimal chance that we’re going to see this luxurious rickshaw running around the streets of China and Japan, and the fact that it’s badged by Maybach, Mercedes’ high-end luxury brand, makes this whole thing all the more improbable.
As it presents its draft design for an electrically powered luxury rickshaw, Stuttgart’s Maybach Manufaktur automotive hand-finishing section is exploring radical new avenues for the urban mobility of tomorrow as part of the Los Angeles Design Challenge. The Maybach DRS – "Den-Riki-Sha" (= electrically driven rickshaw) – blends the very latest automotive technology, luxurious comfort, and the highest safety levels with the needs of an environmentally aware world and the traditional values of the classic "Jin-Riki-Sha" (human-powered rickshaw). The futuristic four-seater is created through metamorphosis from a DNA cocoon, making it the world’s first naturally manufactured vehicle. The rickshaw was developed by the designers at the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studios in Tokyo – participating in the Los Angeles Design Challenge for the first time.
The design competition had invited international automotive design studios to draw up their vision of a car that weighs 1,000 American pounds (around 454 kilogrammes) (kerb weight). The remit was to create a four-seater small car that is safe and comfortable, offering good handling and first-class design. "This was a major challenge – in particular for a brand such as Maybach, whose luxury has thus far manifested itself not least in the vehicles’ size. This is why, when building the Maybach DRS, we combined the European concept of luxury with the Asian feel for optimum use of space, so we were able to create a vehicle which blends both in an intelligent manner. Thereby we have shortly undermatched the weight limit", explained Holger Hutzenlaub, who heads the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studios in Tokyo.
The amalgamation of organic intelligence and biomechanical engineering artistry
Breathtaking looks, polished luxury, and technical brilliance characterise the ambitious development of the Maybach DRS. The design is reminiscent of a butterfly’s cocoon, light and elegant as it floats between two oversized wheels. The rickshaw is made in a unique, natural production process. Through a complex and perfect metamorphosis a finished vehicle is developed from a DNA cocoon: Organic intelligence blends with advanced biomechanical engineering. The result is a futuristic combination of an ultralight structure and an unparalleled luxury exterior and interior – for a limited number of exclusive vehicles.
The vehicle frame consists of carbon fibres and organic composite materials, whilst the doors and windows are made of injection-moulded polycarbonate and the panoramic roof of flexible organic composite materials. The Maybach DRS is powered by two 20 kW electric motors which are positioned in the wheel hubs and are self-balancing. The energy required is produced by a lithium-ion battery in the tail end. An on-board computer ensures optimum control, communicating with the metropolis’s transport infrastructure, and thus guaranteeing a smooth, luxurious ride through the city. In order to increase the vehicle’s range, the human/electric hybrid also allows additional pedal force, which is produced by the driver.
Totally true to the grand Maybach tradition of luxurious mobility, the Maybach DRS – "Den-Riki-Sha" – is carrying forward this heritage, paying homage to the roads of tomorrow.