solar and wind
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 can be used on both land
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
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.