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Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona

Opel Icona
Make Opel
Model Icona
Concept year 2010
Production year 2050 (theoretical)
Engine electric, solar and wind

The Opel Icona can be used on both land and water
The Opel Icona concept is the work of skilled Colombian designer Juan Pablo Bernal P, who created the concept while an intern at Opel's design studio. The concept was developed as part of his final year project for the Umea Institute of Design in Sweden.

The Opel Icona concept was conceived for the year 2050, and to accompany the concept Juan Pablo created a fictional future in which the Opel Icona concept plays a role.

The story goes a little something like this:

By the year 2050 the world is a very different place than what it is today. Most of the world's roads are either gridlocked with traffic, or so over used they are incredibly inefficient at helping you get from A to B. Also, because the world's available natural land has been so overbuilt, people have to start reclaiming land from the sea (like they already have done in places like Dubai) in order to make room for the expanding population. Add to that the fact global warming and reducing CO2 emissions are a top priority for everyone, and it's a very difficult environment to operate a conventional car.

Additionally, by the year 2050 family structure has decayed significantly due to the 24/7 high-tech lives most people lead, involving computers, video gaming and online social networking - which has replaced face-to-face relationships and family interaction.

Overall Juan Pablo paints a rather bleak picture of the future.

Enter the Opel Icona. Juan Pablo designed the 2050 Opel Icona to help in more ways than one.

Firstly it's powered by a combination of zero-emission electricity and wind power. The Icona's electricity is harnessed from the sun by the retractable sail which is woven with small solar panels. So basically anywhere it goes, on either land or sea, it gets there without adding any CO2 or other emissions to the atmosphere.

Secondly, if you happen to be one of the future people who ends up living on a reclaimed island or outcrop of land, instead of being forced to take the congested roads to get to where you want to go, you can just drive the Opel Icona into the sea and sail your way to work! Or if there's no wind, the rear wheels can be pulled up into the bodywork and used in conjunction with the electric motor to provide thrust in the form of water jets.

And thirdly the Opel Icona could help bring parents and their children closer together by providing them with a fun, physical activity in the form of sailing. The designer also envisages a treasure hunt series developed for the Opel Icona (and presumably other similar amphibious wind-powered vehicles) in which parents and kids compete together against other families on both land and water in order to solve puzzles, improve their sailing skills, and in turn form better family relationships.

The Opel Icona's design is driven by both form and function. It's an attractive and sporty looking vehicle, which at the same time manages to provide the space and packaging for a number of very clever features.

The sail folds away into a compartment behind the driver, while the keel - which helps provide stability while in the water - is neatly hidden under a panel at the lower rear of the Icona when not in use.

The rear wheels of the Opel Icona have two positions. Land mode - obvious really, that's when they're down and provide power when on land. And water mode - that's when they are pulled back up into two housings where they sit flush with the bodywork. When in water mode they can be used as impellers to drive water jets which provide thrust for the vehicle.

Unfortunately the Opel Icona is only a two-seat vehicle - with room for only one adult and one child. This, coupled with the fact it provides the occupants with no protection from the weather, would make it impractical for most single-car families. However if a four-seat, fully enclosed version were ever developed it could provide some of the answers to the world's future transportation problems.

All images courtesy of Juan Pablo Bernal P.

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