The design house Pininfarina is responsible for some of the most beautiful four wheeled creations throughout the history of the automobile; however the Italian design studio has also been an innovative force, constantly adapting to the needs of the day in order to ensure the continuation of personal transportation. One thing that any Italian based manufacturing facility is known for is an outright sense of style and the ability to instill beauty into everything they do. That is why Pininfarina has just unveiled their latest concept, the Nido, an attractive, small and safe vehicle geared at replacing densely populated urban environments with a low emissions vehicle that was designed from day one to not only look good but provide peace of mind to the occupants inside.
In Italian, the word Nido means nest, however we see the compact city car concept as what is usually being safeguarded in a nest, eggs. Some of the design sketches show the early concept as being a round egg shaped vehicle with the passengers occupying a yellowish yolk like protected space in the middle. So the Nido is a 21st century attempt to solve the age-old high school science project, how to keep the insides intact upon impact. Pininfarina’s engineers have designed the Nido with a separate passenger compartment built inside the concept’s frame and body that is connected to the outer shell with energy absorbing cushions placed around the passenger’s compartment. The bright orange polymer cushions would act like springs upon impact, absorbing the forces exerted by the instant deceleration, however unlike energy storing metal coils that would spring back returning all that pressure onto the passengers, a cushion simply acts like an oversized pillow in a briefcase.
Pininfarina knows that no matter how great a car is, it has no chance at being remembered if it is unattractive. So that is why the designers worked with the safety focused engineers from the beginning to create the Nido city car concept. The Nido follows the traditional rules of automobile styling rules with four wheels, two headlights and a large grill in the middle of the front bumper that almost looks back at you. One place where the Nido concept brakes from ordinary cars is the lack of a hood; this begs the question, what is going to power the compact city car and which wheels will be driven? The most likely answer is that similarly to the Smart and Nano , the power plant will be placed behind the two passengers, however the Pininfarina Nido’s lightweight construction would make it an ideal candidate to be a battery electric vehicle.
Press release after the jump.
With the Nido project, Pininfarina has chosen to rethink the current methodology of the car design process, resulting in an innovative concept, which reexamines safety in small automobiles.
The Nido concept builds upon Pininfarina’s grand tradition of continuous investment in research and development programs in each of the Company’s areas - Design, Engineering and Manufacturing - to quickly and methodically tackle contemporary problems as they arise in the automotive industry.
For example, during the 70’s energy crisis, the industry looked towards aerodynamics and alternative energy sources to cut fuel consumption. Pininfarina responded by developing the CNR Energetica 1 prototype, an ideal aerodynamic body and the electric powered Ecos. In the 80’s Pininfarina’s pioneering research into lightweight material application bore the Audi Quartz and Lancia Hit prototypes, which the use of new light metallic and composite materials. The 90’s witnessed to heightened environmental awareness, spawned research into recyclability of materials, improved ergonomics and more efficient vehicle packaging. Pininfarina offered solutions with the Ethos macro-project, a family of three cars with aluminum chassis, recyclable plastic bodywork
and innovative, low emission internal combustion engines, highlighted by the 1995 Ethos 3EV zero emissions vehicle.
More recently Pininfarina turned their attention to hybrid vehicle research in the Eta Beta and Metrocubo projects which, with reduced dimensions and modular cabins, also answered the problems of both urban and medium range usage.
Today the industry is concerned with a problem that Pininfarina had already anticipated with the Sigma,Alfa Romeo P33 and Sigma Grand Prix prototypes: safety.
The Nido project dives into the concept of total design: coherent integration of all aspects of the design and engineering of the car. This concept was in fact conceived through an intense collaboration between design and engineering, two poles often opposed, with the singular goal of creating an attractive, small and safe vehicle.
By focusing and redefining their respective approaches on a singular goal from day one, new innovative solutions were discovered in the overlap between the aesthetic and the technicalview points.
Nido demonstrates Pininfarina’s ability to combine user’s desires with the technical feasibility that allows the project to be built. It marks Pininfarina not only as an innovator today, but shows how Pininfarina is providing solutions for a better tomorrow.