The RV of the Future?
Southern California is one of the places where the present meets the future. It is also the home of the Los Angeles Design Challenge, an integral element of the L.A. Auto Show. The theme of last year’s competition was “An L.A. Adventure,” and ten automotive design teams from all around the world accepted the challenge to create something new for dealing with the urban jungle. GM’s Advanced Design team met the challenge head-on by tackling one of the biggest adventures L.A. residents face: affordable housing.
GM’s entry, the GMC PAD, is a futuristic-looking, diesel-electric powered urban apartment with mobility, a creature comfort-filled concept for living in the ever-changing cultural landscape of Southern California. It is a modern alternative for those financially locked out of Southern California’s escalating housing market and provides cultural and geographic freedom for the modern city dweller. It offers a new answer to the problem of urban sprawl - a flat on wheels.
In the end, it emerged as an upwardly mobile loft: The judges of the competition proclaimed the General Motors West Coast Advanced Design Studio the winner.
“We chose this vehicle because it was the pinnacle of creativity,” said Stewart Reed, chairman of Transportation Design at the Art Center College of Design. “All the entrants were fantastic designs, but this design was the one which took the biggest risk.” In the opinion of the judges, it also created a new vehicle category, the “LAV,” Living Activity Vehicle. Besides Reed, the jury included design experts Imre Molnar, dean of the College for Creative Studies, and Tom Matano, director of Industrial Design for Academy of Art University.
“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.” The GMC PAD features 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.
“This challenge embodies the aspects which make this show unique,” said Chuck Pelly, Design LA conference director. “The ever-changing trends of Southern California allow for fresh thinking, and we saw something truly unique with this winning vehicle.”
The Design Challenge competition debuted at the 2005 LA Auto Show to rave reviews from media worldwide and returned the following year for an encore battle of automotive designers. The theme, “An LA Adventure,” is a reflection of the myriad of activities inherent to Southern California. Designers were challenged to create vehicle designs which best signified this theme.
The winning GMC PAD’s competitors in the 2006 LA Design Challenge included far reaching concepts by Audi (Nero), Honda (LA Rolling Film Festival), Hyundai (Gator), Kia (Sidewinder), Maybach (California Gourmet Tourer), Mercedes-Benz (Mojave Runner), Mitsubishi (Roadster Konzept MRK), Scion (Exile), and Smart (Rescue Vehicle).