Conventional hybrid or performance vehicles weigh about 1,000 kg or more, so how about aiming to achieve a new class of alternative fuel performance vehicle that is half the weight? Sounds far-fetched? The Honda Air Concept takes a leap forward and shows that with dreams, nothing is impossible.
Developed by the Honda Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, CA., the Honda Air Concept was unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge last year. Powered by Dreams, the Honda Air Concept gives a glimpse into the future of lightweight and alternative-powered vehicle.
This concept vehicle is Honda’s answer to the design challenge theme, which seeks to address society’s shift toward minimising consumption of the earth’s resources. The Honda designers were challenged to envision an efficient, lightweight, four-passenger vehicle (not exceeding 1,000 lbs.), that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling consumers demand.
However, this is not your average concept vehicle. It is built on the ?vision of a comfortable, safe, four-passenger vehicle that has good driving performance. The designers of Honda Air Concept drew inspiration from modern roller coasters and skydiving wing suits. It features a cockpit and package that is similar to that of a modern roller coaster, aimed at maximising the open-air experience.
This concept vehicle is powered by compressed air and pneumatic regulator system. Tank pressure is regenerated by turbo vacuums and external airflow, taking the vehicle further by increasing boost for approximately 100 miles!
The lightweight of Honda Air Concept was achieved through a combination of cutting-edge structural re-engineering and material change. The chassis is also the master tank while the seats, like all other parts of the vehicle, are mounted to it (the chassis). Weight is also further reduced with the utilisation of a hub-less wheel and drive system instead of heavy drive train parts.
Seating panels are glass reinforced and tyre features urethane composition. Together with the skeletal sub-frame, all these worked together to decrease weight and increase the dynamic performance of the vehicle at the same time. Meanwhile, the main tanks and reserves can be conveniently and safely filled using a Honda generator/air compressor at home or tyre filler at any petrol station.
Weighing less than 454 kilogrammes, this four-passenger vehicle is equipped with panels and fairings made from vegetable-based polymer. Such eco-friendly innovation exemplifies Honda’s vision of a zero-emission vehicle for the next generation.
With such an advanced embodiment of style, performance and most importantly, the environment, we can only imagine where a cruise in the Honda Air will take us in future.