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Tesla Eye showcar by IED

Mon, 22 Mar 2010

The Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) was the only university to have a stand at the recent Geneva motor show. Occupying a booth in the center of the upper main hall, the school showcased the Eye concept, a recent project designed by students in the Master of Arts Transportation Design program in collaboration with Tesla Motors.

According to IED, the Eye concept was born out of research into the identity promoted by Tesla to achieve a new objective: designing an everyday 2+2 sports car conceived to become a status-symbol; a car with engaging features and sports car performance ideally suited to a young, cosmopolitan target demographic.

Franz von Holzhausen told Car Design News that once the students had decided that it would be based on Tesla they contacted him. "They were fired up with the brand and its cutting edge image," von Holzhausen recalls, "they wanted to have ideas aligned with Tesla.

"[I] gave them a project brief on what I thought would be a good project and what I thought they would most benefit from as well as what would benefit the landscape."

The project was built around "space requirements for an inner city vehicle," von Holzhausen said, but also considered "style, as well as space and functionality".

Based on an idea by Colombian student Jorge Andrés Pinilla Fonseca, the electric 2+2 seat concept is a C-segment car measuring 4250mm in length and 1800mm wide, so it's not as large as the six-passenger Model S already being fine tuned for production. While the concept stands 1360mm high, its wheelbase measures 2650mm, 309mm shorter than the S.

Aesthetically, the Eye features a black plexiglass front mask created with obvious reference to the T shape of the Tesla logo, which conceals the vehicle's recharging socket. Paired with this new DRG are LED head and taillamps, designed with the aim of increasing the dynamic sensation provided by the vehicle's aesthetic.

The Eye was also designed to be aerodynamically efficient. Deep channels in the front end effectively reduce frontal air pressure and push airflow to the side, while the solution is also repeated at the rear, underlining an innovative roof structure that enables the vehicle to become a semi-open car with a loading bay similar to that of a pickup truck.

The car's details have been conceived so that they are all fit in with the vehicle's design concept: the windscreen wiper assembly is entirely encased behind a streamlined fairing; the rear cameras have a wing shaped profile; and the wheel hubs have been designed to conceal the electric motors but also include aerodynamic wings to channel air in to cool the motors themselves.

In-wheel electric motors mated to a battery pack mounted under the rear seat enabled the designers to maximize the vehicle's internal space. Though the concept on show in Geneva was an exterior only full-scale model, the renderings show an interior that encapsulates the flowing aerodynamic theme. It includes flowing surfaces that mimic the aerodynamic exterior theme while also being suitable to the electric automaker's brand image.

By Eric Gallina