Each year the LA Auto Show features the California Design Challenge. The rules are simple, elite design and engineering studios from around the world are offered a challenge, and then must design a vehicle to meet that challenge. This past year at the 2010 LA Auto Show participants were tasked to envision a 1,000 pound, four-passenger vehicle that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering excellent driving performance. Honda answered wisely with its design of an 800 pound performance beast, the Honda Air.
Created by the Honda Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena, CA, the Air concept is defined as “a vision of the future of lightweight and alternative fuel performance vehicles”. Inspired by the modern roller coaster as well as skydiving wing-suits, the Air is powered by a compressed air and pneumatic regulator system. It utilizes turbo vacuums and external air-flow to regenerate tank pressure for extended range and increased boost for an estimated 100 miles. The chassis doubles as the master tank and all components, including seating, are mounted to the central chassis/tank to eliminate redundant structure and reduce overall weight.
The Honda Air’s cockpit and package maintain the aggressive human packaging of a modern roller coaster aimed at maximizing the open air experience (ideal for Phoenix Arizona weather and scenery). In order to reduce weight and increase dynamic performance, a hub-less wheel and drive system eliminates the use of heavy drive train components. Glass reinforced seating panels, urethane tire composition and skeletal sub-frame components combine for drastic weight savings. Using a Honda generator / air compressor at home or tire filler at your local filling station, the main tanks and reserves can be filled quickly and safely.
Phoenix Arizona auto enthusiasts can keep an eye out for technology and innovation inspired by the Honda Air concept vehicle at any of the many Phoenix Valley area Honda dealers. Also, consider a road trip out to Los Angeles (a short drive from Phoenix Arizona) in November for the 2011 LA Auto Show, the worlds top event for debuting new car designs and technologies.