Winning Thrive concept utilises piezoelectric materials to create an electric charge for self-generating power

The winner of this year’s Pilkington Vehicle Design Award has created a self-sustaining car concept that can power itself without any external fuelling.

The concept, which is called Thrive and has been badged as a Peugeot, uses piezoelectric materials (materials that can create energy when compressed) to create an electric charge when it is placed under mechanical pressure.

The result means the car can generate energy using rain, wind or sunlight, negating the need for an external input of fuel or charging.

Thrive’s designer, Royal College of Art student Patrick Carton, chose to add hydrophobic-coated glass (which repels water molecules) to feed a rain-powered turbine, in turn boosting the vehicle’s electric charge.

Thrive was chosen as the winner by the award’s expert judges, which included key industry designers such as Audi’s head of design concepts, Klemens Rossnagel, and Earl Beckles from Jaguar Land Rover.

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The judges commended the winning concept, along with many others produced by the RCA students.

One judge, Mike Greenall, director of automotive R&D programmes at NSG, added: “It’s so encouraging to see how these young designers are pushing the boundaries of innovation. The next decade represents a pivotal time for the automotive industry, with new technology and sustainability concerns likely to exert a significant influence on industry trends.

“On today’s evidence, these students will be at the forefront of this evolution.”

Look through our gallery above to view more of this year’s Pilkington Vehicle Design Award concepts.

Join the debate


6 July 2016
Surely this isn't serious? I can see how small amounts of energy can be captured by the means above, but cars typically need huge amounts of energy to travel any distance. We certainly need more efficient cars, but I don't think we're likely to see a truly self-sustaining one any time soon. That said, I acknowledge that solar powered cars have achieved fantastic results in very sunny climates like Australia.

6 July 2016
is it?

7 July 2016
...and money spent to true engineering and tech.innovations...would be great.
does Adui have a series production line for prototypes and showcars...

7 July 2016
I would expect an averagely intelligent layman to instantly conclude that the energy required to carry around a bunch of piezoelectric material would dwarf the infinitesimally small amount of energy that they could harvest from rainwater.

I know they're arts students and not engineers, but it's still worrying that you can go through an expensive education and still lack a very basic understanding of how the world around you works.

19 July 2016
Witness the difference between engineering and product design. Sure they can make some fancy renders and 3D print some cool looking models but none of this absolute twaddle would actually work because these people are artists not scientists. They might be good at using CAD but they are terrible at maths which means they're useless.

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