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Local Motors Announces Alaska Motors Competition Winners

Wed, 03 Feb 2010

Startup American independent car company Local Motors has announced the winner of its Alaska Motors competition, which called for entrants to design a concept vehicle for the Wrangell Mountain Extreme, a made-up race that takes place in the grueling Alaskan frontier.  

Challenged to design a conceptual vehicle for the most difficult environmental conditions, designers competed for Wacom prizes and the finalists were then chosen by the community, as they have been for the last 17 competitions.

Coming in first place was recent Strate College graduate Anthony Colard for his 'B-Polar' concept, a vehicle that features a unique moving chassis with a rotating axis around its fuel tank allowing it to easily maneuver through rough terrain.

"The gas tank is located in the middle as the vehicle is GPL powered for less impact on its environment," says Colard. "There is a small engine in the front to power the front wheels and a larger one at the back of the car for the rear wheels, which produce the main traction. The wheels are equipped with holes to evacuate the snow; disk brakes are hidden in a sphere in the middle of the wheel..."

Second place was awarded to Pierre Gimbergues, who devised the 'Banshee' concept, a vehicle inspired by mountain animals - particularly the polar bear. "It has a very bipolar design as well, with [an] organic front and mechanical rear," says its maker.

The two seat 'buggy' has the tracks of a Caterpillar for increased traction in inclement weather and measures five meters in length with a width of 2.3 meters. However Gimbergues asserts his concept is "incredibly capable, able to climb and jump."

Powered by a hybrid bioethanol and electric engine the concept promises to be environmentally friendly.

Third place went to Armand Herve for his 'TW-Ice' concept, a play on the 'two-times' word theme. Featuring an innovative new suspension that prevents it from flipping over, the vehicle is also able to run tracks or standard wheels depending on the terrain it finds itself in.

"I imagined a vehicle that has two distinct parts connected together by a semi-rigid material," says Herve, "I preferred the use of tracks and wheels depending on the circumstances. The two systems are permutable."

Powered by a BMW V12 bioethanol engine, the concept rear storage space can store everything needed for the fictional race including a shovel, food and flares in a compartmentalized box.

One of the only car design communities to collaborate openly, and share designs prior to submission and voting, Local Motors is currently setting a sustainable course to design, manufacture and sell cars, creating a direct connection with customers in localized communities who guide design development based on personal desires. Local Motors does not choose the winner; the Local Motors community votes to choose. The outcome of this open, collaborative process is vehicles that have been specifically designed for enthusiasts in local areas.

The start-up company, which will build micro-factories in regions where demand is highest, cuts down the development and manufacturing process dramatically and reduces waste while maintaining the flexibility to incorporate new, efficient technologies as they emerge. 

The Rally Fighter - created from an initial sketch created by Art Center College of Design student Sangho Kim - was first Local Motors concept. First deliveries of that car are expected to begin in June this year.

Related Article:
New Car: Local Motors Rally Fighter

By Eric Gallina