Jerrycan inspires e-bike

One+ is an intriguing concept. Vehicle designer Fernando Ocana has created a conceptual electric bike designed specifically to transport clean water from place to place in the developing world.

The lead designer at pioneering electric car company Think, Ocana’s design is an unusual electric motorcycle inspired by the simplicity of the bicycle so that it is simple to produce and easy to maintain.

He says he was inspired by locally available material such as the jerrycan which he notes is a ‘common approach for the developing-world scenario.’

Ocana used rough plastics in the construction to keep costs low and weight nimble. The overall shape works around the need for it to hold the water containers, which can be removed and replaced as users fill up their jerrycans.

The wheels are made of rubber to absorb any shocks and impacts. This is where the battery and engine are stored to meet the renewable energy capacity in the developing world.

Ocana says the idea for the in-wheel electric engine and batteries came as an attempt to match the intensive developments in solar and wind power that are taking place through developing regions such as Central Africa.

Ocana was sponsored by Japanese carmaker Honda through the ‘mobility for the masses’ project when he was completing his masters in vehicle design at the Royal College of Art in London.

For more visit his site.
Read our review of Monoform by Ocana.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | | Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

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Interior solution: Family Dynamic

‘Current car interiors reinforce 1950s family dynamics with dad as boss and everyone else sitting there doing nothing. This is not how the modern family works nor is it the way we interact with one another in the home environment,’ says former Lego designer Adam Phillips. He is presenting Family Dynamic an interior design concept that expresses the needs of the modern family.

Designed as part of his graduate project in vehicle design at the Royal College of Art, the concept mimics the dynamics of the modern home. It has been designed as a range of modular components allowing the interior to be configured to suit the size of the family and their needs as well as evolve with its occupants through the different stages of their lives.

The designer explains: ‘Some areas are fixed but you can add more things and rearrange it to suite your needs. When the kids are young they will sit in the back, but as they get older they’ll probably move to the front and perhaps then take the car for the weekend.’ The  rear turns into a mini caravan.

‘Kids are often more capable of working with computers and gadgets and therefore play an active role in the family,’ he continues. ‘This interior space is trying to facilitate that by not creating such an obvious break between the home and the vehicle. My design mimics life in the home, where the occupants have greater interaction.’

An extension of the family home it therefore carries through much of the living room’s aesthetic. ‘It is important for the car to have a similar texture to the home,’ notes Phillips. ‘We also have large expansive windows to open the space and so that kids don’t feel trapped and sick.’

There is flexible seating arrangement and a special interactive wall using digitally enabled glass that spans the length of the passenger space.  It connects the occupants and allows them to collaborate through applications such as movies, gaming or communication.

‘The most negative thing is this fashion for MPVs that are like a sports car for the dad who likes to drive,’ says Phillips, adding, ‘but having a family is much cooler than being a boy racer.’

Phillips initially studied exterior design at Coventry University in the UK but soon changed directions to study toy design which lead to a job in Hong Kong as a toy robot designer. ‘I created one that is like a ten year old boy,’ he says. ‘I like the technology side but also the human side and this is what I didn’t get from the exterior.

‘I think the signs of change are already there in the automotive world,’ admits Phillips, noting: ‘The interior will become more interesting as the technology is there. It just needs to be implemented.’

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read my report on Show RCA Vehicle Design published in Wallpaper*.

Read my other articles on vehicle designers from the RCA Show: Shared Transport SolutionsAnti Global Car and Monoform.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | | Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

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Monoform: A new expression of movement

‘I wanted to create something that talked and interacted with the city,’ says Fernando Ocana. ‘There is much more to car design than designing cars that look like their moving when standing still,’ notes the young Mexican automotive designer as he explains his concept Monoform.

The life size sculpture – around the same proportions as a Smart car – is tucked away in a separate darkened room at the Royal College of Art graduate vehicle design show. A screen is projecting a short film made by Ocana over its form.

This urban vehicle concept uses reflective glass and architectural shaping to encourage people to view their current environment from a different perspective – and by doing so proposes a fresh interaction between man and machine.

‘The point of this project is to add relevance to what we do,’ he continues as we watch London reflect back on us. ‘It stands as a point of view towards progressive mobility experiences that connect with the emerging philosophies of the twenty-first century, and speaks directly to those who feel alienated by the conservative symbolism applied to modern automotive design.’

Philip Glass is playing on the stereo. ‘This music is also about giving hope,’ notes Ocana. ‘There are a lot of people out there who are really annoyed with what we’re doing as car designers and I believe we need change, and change as a consequence of time. The future isn’t about looking back.’

A former General Motors automotive designer, he came to the RCA two years ago to find new solutions to what he saw as complete single mindedness and constant nostalgia in car design.

He concludes: ‘I’m not saying this is the future, but trying to give a new personal view.’

Read our report on Show RCA Vehicle Design published in Wallpaper*.
For more on this particular project visit Fernando Ocana.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read other reports on vehicle designers from Show RCA: Shared Transport SolutionsFamily Dynamic and  Anti Global Car.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | | Bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©