Alexander Ibbett, a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Art, has scooped first prize in a Citroën-sponsored design competition to come up with a futuristic concept for a city centre delivery van.

Twenty six students from the RCA’s vehicle design course made their final presentations yesterday in London to a team of senior Citroën executives from the company’s design, engineering and marketing divisions.

Completed in just two months, the ‘Metro Project for a Global Van’ asked the students to ‘develop a global van with flexible options, to move goods quickly and quietly, conveniently and with proper concern for roadspace, roadusers and yourself - the ultimate receiver of the goods.’

Ibbett’s concept was inspired by a row of ducklings following their mother, which he interpreted as a tiny, single-occupant, tractor unit to which small, electric-powered, parcel carriers automatically link up and travel in convoy. Once close to the delivery address, the parcel carriers can peel off and park as close to the recipient’s home as possible.

Ibbett, who has completed internships with SAIC/MG and Land Rover, was also the first recipient of the RCA’s new ‘Gold Medal’ award for outstanding student achievement.

Citroën’s judging panel, lead by design chief Andrew Cowell, gave second place to Alexander Brink, for his three wheel motorcycle-style hauler, which has a large container space upfront with the driver standing upright at the rear of the vehicle. In third place was Hoe-Young Hwang, who developed a home luxury delivery concept for the buyers of premium goods.

Andrew Cowell told Autocar that Citroën regarded the competition as a ‘valuable’ design exercise and he was pleased that he was able to have the company’s head of marketing and engineering for commercial vehicle division at the presentation.