The award for the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge went to the Cadillac Aera concept vehicle, giving GM Advanced Design the distinction of having won more times than any other design team.
This marks its third victory since 2005. It tied with Smart and it beat entries from seven other automakers including Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Maybach.
For the seventh year of this contest, the designers were requested to envision the "1,000 lb. car" to be efficient and for the four-passenger vehicle to maintain its comfort, safety, driving performance and style.
It also must not surpass the weight requirement. The Aera is powered by compressed air via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System. It has a 10,000-psi composite air storage tank with capacity for a 1,000-mile range.
For improved passive safety and interior comfort, the Aera features flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior skin, similar to material created for the NASA Mars Rover airbags. Aerodynamics is improved due to its flexible polymer skin. It also functions as an ultra-lightweight alternative to conventional body panels and glass.
"The Cadillac Aera concept was designed to continue the forward-thinking imagination of Cadillac's 'art and science' philosophy," explains Jussi Timonen, lead designer for the project. "It's designed as a small city urban vehicle, but we approached this 2+2 touring coupe very much from the brand's luxury perspective. Every detail of the Aera was conceived to minimize the vehicle's environmental impact without sacrificing the style, comfort and attention to detail that are hallmarks of the Cadillac brand."