A Model T For the 21st Century
The contest was opened to 5 universities from different countries and they were tasked with creating a vehicle that would be just as revolutionary, if not more, than the original Model T. Each university featured a team of students and engineers who worked side-by-side in creating the design, with much of the styling coming from the student minds.
The guidelines for the contest were simple, yet very thorough. The design had to be small and lightweight while still being durable and practical for daily driving. Two adults had to be able to fit in it comfortably and the minimum range for the drivetrain was set at 125 miles. Oh yeah, it also had to cost less than $7,000.
The winning university was Aachen University's Institute of Automotive Engineering in Germany. The netted a $25,000 prize to be used for scholarship funds and bragging right of course. The vision was a small pick-up truck based design that could seat 3 people in the cab side-by-side, with the driver in the center.
The vehicle weighted in at about 800kg and could be fitted with 3 different forms of propulsion. The first is a small petroleum engine that would offer decent fuel economy and keep the weight down. The next step would be to add an electric motor and make it a hybrid. The most expensive package, about double the base price, would be to convert the Model T to full electric power.
Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia was also chosen as an equal winner in the contest. Their design was a three-wheeled concept, two in the front and one in the back, powered by compressed air rotary hub motors at either end. The interior would be slightly larger than that of the previously mentioned concept and would seat 4-5 people.
Ford hasn't said much about production of the winning designs, but I'm sure there are quite a few people who are praying for it. Obviously it isn't an original or anything even close, but the idea behind it was sound and I feel sure if it does make it into production, collectors will flock to the dealerships along with new drivers looking for an affordable new vehicle.
From: Business Week