The General Motors West Coast Advanced Design Studio hoists the trophy for the 2006 Design Los Angeles Design Challenge with the creation of the innovative GMC PAD. The design team created what the judges proclaimed a "LAV," Living Activity Vehicle.

The concept of the GMC PAD is that of an urban loft with mobility. Featuring a diesel-electric hybrid system for propulsion, the engine also serves as a generator for the onboard power grid. The media rich environment is unlike any other, and comes with an endless variety of entertainment, information and security options.

The GM design team consisted of Steve Anderson, Senon B. Franco III, Jay Bernard, Phil Tanioka, Sidney Levy, Brian Horton, Alessandro Zezza, Christine Ebner and Frank Saucedo. Choosing between the ten entries were design experts Imre Molnar, dean of the College for Creative Studies; Tom Matano, director of Industrial Design for Academy of Art University and Stewart Reed, chairman of Transportation Design at the Art Center College of Design.

"We chose this vehicle because it was the pinnacle of creativity," said Reed. "All the entrants were fantastic designs, but this design was the one which took the biggest risk."

"This is the true all-around vehicle," said Matano. "This creates a new segment between the RV and the SUV. The future of this Living Activity Vehicle would appeal to many buyers including corporations, future home-owners, traveling business people and constant travelers looking to go beyond the stereotypical RV."

Ten automakers competed in the L.A. Design Challenge, a competition that encourages "free thinking" among car designers to explore the possible outside of "rigid production restrictions."

We’ve got pictures of all ten entries, with info about the designers and the ideas behind their creations.

GMC PAD - Winner

GM West Coast Advanced Design Studio

Designers: Steve Anderson, Senon B. Franco III, Jay Bernard, Phil Tanioka, Sidney Levy, Brian Horton, Alessandro Zezza, Christine Ebner, Frank Saucedo

Why commute? Adapt. That’s the thinking behind the GMC PAD, which offers an innovative look at an urban loft with mobility. It’s a home ownership concept that enables cultural and geographic freedom for the modern city dweller. The GMC PAD features a diesel-electric hybrid system for propulsion while in DriveMode, and serves as a generator for the onboard power grid for LifeMode. The media rich environment is unlike any other, and comes with an endless variety
of entertainment, information and security options. With the GMC PAD, home is where you want it. And commuting is what other people do.

Audi Nero

Volkswagen/Audi Design Center California
Designers: Jess Harder, Raul Cenan

The Audi Nero (Latin for black) concept is an evolution of the 1930s streamlined record-breaking Auto Union racers. The aerodynamic surfaces, covered wheels and low ground clearance create a stealthy modern interpretation of its inspirational ancestors. The carbon black color reflects the LA mood, while its strong silhouette is punctuated with compelling technical details. The aggressive front end is followed by a translucent hood that showcases its powerful engine. The Nero super coupe is an expression of pure power, speed and style that turns any LA night into an adventure.

Honda LA Rolling Film Festival

Honda Research & Development
Designers: Honda Research & Development

The Movies! That’s one common worldwide attribute of LA. So the designers of Honda, in honor of LA’s movie persona, created vignettes of vehicles and lifestyles for several of the cultures, lifestyles and images of LA. And they designed them with the imaginative consideration of the second most important characteristic of LA – living on roadways. For the fitness crowd there’s “The Running Bus,” an ingenious human-powered hybrid that features 10 stationary runners inside the bus for power; or the “Jacarzzi,” which is a sleek sports car that doubles as a hot tub. And, the vehicles are presented in the best language of Los Angeles – the Movie Poster.

Hyundai Greenspeed Gator

Hyundai Kia America Design Center
Designer: Eric M. Stoddard

What happens when drag racing moves beyond internal combustion and nitrous oxide? The Hyundai Greenspeed Gator, which pushes the boundaries of design and fuel cell performance. Inspired by the top fuel racers of the ‘60s, this alien shape is rooted in pure function. The overall design consists of a main fuselage with integrated roll protection and “seat sling” that hangs underneath, tied together by a center spine chassis with integral fuel cells. The giant hood blisters house the hydrogen storage tanks, and the rear wheels house gargantuan electric motors.

Kia Sidewinder

Hyundai Kia America Design Center
Designer: Marc Mainville

This Kia is a two-seat, lean, mean, drifting machine! The Sidewinder’s power comes from a compressed natural gas turbine, which feeds electricity to a series of in-wheel, high torque, electric motors. This environmentally-responsible vehicle would surely grab the most attention while carving lines sideways through the race course. Kia chose drift racing as its theme for the “LA Adventure,” because Los Angeles was the scene of the first officially-sanctioned American drifting event.

Maybach California Gourmet Tourer
Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America
Designer: Andre Frey

The Maybach California Gourmet Tourer is the ultimate machine to enjoy a culinary adventure. Fully automated, the Maybach is safely chauffeured by software using GPS guidance. Offering panorama style windows to enjoy the scenery, it comes fully equipped with every onboard feature imaginable to store and prepare food and wine. It features refrigeration, espresso machine, microwave, wine rack, food preparation area, recycler, foldout tables and other accessories to make any picnic an unforgettable adventure.

Mercedes-Benz Mojave Runner
Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America
Designer: John Gill

The gas-electric hybrid Mojave Runner is designed to thrive in extreme heat, rough terrain or unpredictable weather. It features night vision, sandstorm radar and GPS sensors and is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell generator to provide electrical power for tools and rescue equipment. The strong, lightweight exoskeleton frame is a combination of carbon-fiber and pressurized aluminum tubing that stores air for pneumatic power tools. Its off- and on-road capability is optimized by intelligent adaptive tires that automatically changes tread depth for top performance.

Mitsubishi Roadster Konzept

Mitsubishi Research & Design of North America
Designer: Mark Kim

The Mitsubishi Roadster Konzept (MRK) is a sporty hybrid compact that combines LA’s hip stylish image with a sophisticated look. Environmentally-responsible, all four wheels are equipped with Mitsubishi’s AWD in-wheel electric motor technology. The 280 hp provided by the in-wheel motors combined with the 80 hp rear-mounted engine brings an impressive 360 hp to zip around congested freeways. The MRK has two front sport seats, plus rear rumble seats, which allows for two rear passengers or extra cargo space for Southern California adventures.

Scion Exile

Calty Design Research
Designer: Matt Sperling

The Scion Exile is designed to whisk its individualistic occupants to the snowy slopes, sandy beaches and hip nightlife all in the same day. To appeal to the upscale/sport crowd, the cab-forward Exile is proportioned similar to that of more expensive and impractical exotic sports cars, yet with a go anywhere attitude. A clever trunk doubles as a moveable cargo pod that can be extended, lowered and wheeled as a portable mobile storage locker. With so many activities to choose from in a single day, the Scion Exile accommodates all LA has to offer.

Smart Rescue Vehicle

Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America
Designer: Hubert Lee

From Smart comes the ideal cruiser for crowded Southern California beaches. The Smart Rescue Vehicle is designed for the adventures and tasks that a lifeguard endures on a daily basis, such as first aid, beach patrol, safety and water rescues. The driver sits high in a personal water craft-styled seating position, and can accommodate four passengers. Its mid-engined 800cc turbo Smart engine sits between the front and rear foam seats and can do double duty by powering the jet pump when in amphibious mode.

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