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Local Motors announces Pacific Northwest competition winners

Wed, 14 Apr 2010

Local Motors has announced the results of its Pacific Northwest design competition, which asked contenders to create a vehicle for the region's inhabitants. Taking into account nature's four elements - Earth, wind, fire and water - designers the world over answered a brief that called for designs that would enable drivers in the Pacific Northwest to 'thrive in the elements'.

Competition entrants were encouraged to create a vehicle inspired by the elements or specifically tailored to allow the users to better experience the elements, all while causing little to no environmental impact. The brief stipulated that designers employ recycled and/or recyclable materials, and that the vehicle should use commonly available alternative fuel sources. The Local Motors community answered this challenge with over 75 unique concepts designed for the region. 

Coming in first place was Frenchman Pierre Gimbergues' GAIA concept, an all-terrain roadster with an open top and dedicated rear storage for bikes and boards that was designed for outdoor enjoyment. The modular four-seat vehicle, powered by electric wheel motors and fueled by a flat battery pack integrated into the chassis, features muscular proportions in a compact package for enhanced agility over the rugged terrain. 

"The concept is that of a dynamic SUV which could turn into an all-road roadster or an extreme spider," said Gimbergues. "The objective was to create a versatile SUV for the athletic people of the Pacific Northwest, allowing them to ‘thrive in the elements'."

Second place winner Olivier Poulet, also from France, created the PANGEA concept, another vehicle with modular possibilities. Poulet devised a cabriolet and a closed top version of his concept complete with personalizable block coloring and functional storage nestled into the interior as well as the exterior body panels. The five-seat small scale CUV-style vehicle thereby features variable capability, but it is also environmentally conscious: it is made from bioplastic materials, sources power from an electric drivetrain and features optional solar panels. 

Poulet says the concept was designed for "youth, or people with a young spirit who can not stay in one place. They need to move, discover, and explore new territories.  They are ready to experience any new extreme sports - while being responsible toward the environment."

Marc Senger, from the US state of Massachusetts, was awarded third place for his Pacific Motors Rove concept. Incorporating features fit for specific use cases taken directly from car enthusiasts living in the Pacific Northwest, the four-seat concept features thoughtful details like stream assist wheel paddles, a seed planter, micro windpower generators mounted in the roof rails and clothes drying bins. Powered by a Subaru-sourced 2.0-liter biodiesel engine paired with lithium-iron phosphate batteries for added range and efficiency, the concept also utilizes an all-wheel drive system to overcome obstacles.

Senger designed the vehicle according to the personal testimony of one of the region's inhabitants. "Evan, a barista on Monday and thrill seeker on Saturday, seeks thrills with hills, not gas fills," according to Senger. "In the case that Evan transcends the cusp of civilization and gets stranded, he doesn't want to rely on his iPhone to notify rescue. That's why Rove has a built-in distress beacon. And following a long hike, Evan can fill up his water bottle in the ‘Lifeline' center stack H20 stream, filtered by natural cotton, sand, and gravel elements, and sleep with the aid of its audible trickle."

By Eric Gallina