It’s time again for the annual London Design Museum’s awards, and this year Toyota (NYSE:TM) Me.We and Volkswagen (VLKAY) XL1 have already impressed judges by their visionary design. These two cars, including 74 other ingenious concept cars, are competing to be crowned Design of the Year 2014. The unconventional and unique look of the two vehicles has managed to mesmerize critics by their cutting edge design and radical technology.
The Toyota Me.We
The Toyota Me.We is a revolutionary result of a partnership between Toyota European Design & Development (ED2) and Jean-Marie Massaud, celebrated architect and designer. In an interview conducted recently, Massaud revealed that his goal was to produce an attractive, eco-friendly and realistic car to inculcate human, economic and environmental challenges for today. Judging by the car presented at the function, we have to agree.
The highly customizable concept car has been visualized, keeping in mind the requirements of a number of different lifestyles, as well as, the needs of the environment. Although the car appears to be a hatchback, its replaceable body panels allow it to be modified to almost anything, viz., as a pickup, convertible or even an off-road vehicle.
The car runs completely on electricity and comes equipped with a battery-pack mounted under the load floor. The ME.WE sports fully recyclable polypropylene exterior body panels as well as renewable bamboo wood flooring in addition to the light-weight aluminum chassis. The car, thus, has a low weight of around 1,653 pounds.
Volkswagen XL 1: The Most Fuel Efficient
Not one to be outdone, Volkswagen’s ‘super efficient’ XL 1 features impressive construction techniques and futuristic body design. XL 1’s advanced hybrid technology presents it with groundbreaking fuel economy figures. The two seater, left hand driven car is considered as world’s most fuel efficient car, with an efficiency of 313 mile per gallon. The diesel-electric hybrid emits a shockingly low 24g of carbon dioxide per kilometer.
XL 1 has been highly praised for its glamorous look. Almost four meter long and 1.7 meters wide car is uniquely designed with "scissor doors" and tapered hood. Unlike traditional two seaters, the car has a queue-like seating arrangement rather than side-by- side seats. Its slick shape is aerodynamically suited for high speeds. Small cameras called e-mirrors, in lieu of traditional side mirrors, transmit external images to an internal display, thereby further enhancing top speed.
The unusually light-weight car features a ‘carbon fiber skin over a magnesium-alloy sub frame'. Including all its internal and external components, the vehicle weighs only 1,753 pounds. Powered by a compact 800 cc two cylinder diesel engine, coupled with 20kw electric motor, the hybrid ensures efficient performance.
On electricity alone, the XL 1 can traverse up to 22 miles while only a single tank of fuel can sustain it for over 600 miles. The car can go from 0-60 mph in 11.9 seconds and has a top speed of 99 mph. The most striking feature about the XL 1 is that it is not limited to the drawing board only. Although highly expensive at $146,000, 200 of these cars are now available in the market.
The concept cars have already gained much popularity in their own fields. What remains to be seen is if the two auto giants would fair up to the expectations that the concept models have built. But, as of now, it’s only a waiting game to see if either of these two brilliant designs is awarded the prestigious title.