Design We Love: It’s Electric


The term “eco-conscious performance” seemed to be a paradox until recent transportation designers began to ask if green vehicles really needed to be slow and ugly. With volatile fuel prices, oil spills, and political tensions pushing alternative energy for transport, a few notable concepts have emerged utilizing aerodynamic forms, lightweight materials, and regenerative braking to achieve greater ranges. Three of our favorites are listed below with a recap on how these innovative technologies apply to the building industry.

Audi e-tron concept

First unveiled at IAA 2009, the e-tron boasts over 300 hp from four segregated electric motors. While not quite as impressive as the numbers from , the combined 3,300 lb-ft of torque accelerate the e-tron to over 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Efficiency is also improved by the dynamic air intakes that close when not in use to minimize drag.

Mission One PLE

Designed by Yves Behar of , the Mission One Premier Limited Edition superbike provides 102 ft-lbs of torque with the 136 hp AC induction motor. It is also the only bike of its class capable of a power wheelie at 70 mph. The fully electronic system empowers riders to customize their ride settings with a laptop.

Smart E-bike

From the makers of the less-than-successful Smart Car (sales plunged 41% in 2009), comes a slightly more intelligent concept for a hybrid electric and human powered bicycle. Constructed from aluminum and weighing in at almost 50 lbs, the Smart Ebike assists the rider’s efforts with four levels of boost. The bike also has a mount for smartphones to assist in controlling and navigating the bike.

All of these concepts exhibit technological developments that may be seen as seeds for cross pollination in the AEC industry. Specifically, opportunities exist to design and construct intelligent building systems that minimize waste and improve end user feedback without sacrificing aesthetics.



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