A two-wheeled car has won the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Continental Connection design competition.
One winner from each of the RCA’s vehicle design course groups was chosen, while the overall winner was Yang Liu, who presented a two-wheeled, two-seat interpretation of the Benz Velo.
The 25 students from the RCA’s Vehicle Design Programme were asked to choose a ‘donor car’ from the Veteran Car Run and analyse, deconstruct and create a future interpretation of it. The students were given four weeks to come up with the concepts from inception to submission, and could only submit one design each.
Senior tutor of the programme, Matteo Conti, said that the concepts “must go beyond design and styling; the donor vehicle’s identity is essential, but the design must not rely too heavily on technology.”
Yang Liu’s design “went above and beyond the brief, he created a well-resolved future vehicle, which also provided a transport solution. It was a really complete and sound design proposal,” said Conti, who praised the innovation behind Liu’s deliberately simplistic concept.
Guy Nicholls, RAC events and communications manager added that the entrants would also be judged on “the journey from the original car to the final project. But we’re not just looking for a modern version.”
“I wanted the car to be as simple as possible, to really go back to basics. It needed to meet the basic demand for mobility, while being as simple as possible.” Said Yang Liu. He explained that the Benz Velo was the first small car, but was very simple, and no bigger than necessary. Two wheels were chosen, because, he explained: “Do you really need four wheels? Do you really need an automatic gearbox?”
Although many of the competing students opted for autonomous driving systems, it was not part of the brief, and Liu chose not to incorporate autonomy, because “people still want to drive.”
The three group winners were Chan Sik Park; whose Mercedes Simplex concept won from the brand-focused Automark group of the course, Qian Meng from the user-focused Inside Out group, with a concept based on the Benz Spider, and Chester Lin, representing the infrastructure group.