LA Auto Show: GM Takes First Prize in Design Challenge

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

GM took the LA Auto Show's Design Challenge for the second year in a row. Last year, the General won for its hipster RV, the GMC PAD . This year, it took home the blue ribbon for its Hummer O2, a hydrogen-powered, half plant, half SUV of the future, with a phototropic body shell that produces oxygen — like leaves — shape-shifting tires that adapt to the driving environment and hydraulic motors built into each wheel. Built from recycled materials, the O2 — like all other entries — would have a life span of 60 months, which would make it a poor candidate if GM ever decides to reinstate the 72-month 0% financing deal.

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More on the LA Design Challenge Entries; GMC PAD Takes Design Prize [internal]

Press Release:

GM Wins First Place in Blue Sky Concept Design

LOS ANGELES - GM Advanced Design has won the Los Angeles Auto Show's Design Challenge for the second year in a row. This year's winning entry is a two-dimensional rendering of a 2015 Blue Sky Concept that addresses environmental sustainability. Called the HUMMER 02, this design proves that daily use of a vehicle could result in a net gain for the environment.


The 2006 Design Challenge theme is Environmental Sustainability, a challenge for design studios to transform the future of driving into an environmental experience. Contest guidelines also required that vehicle entries be 100-percent recyclable and have a maximum lifespan of just 60 months. GM's entry is presented as a series of two-dimensional images, not as a 3D model.

Designers at GM's West Coast Advanced Design Studio in Southern California tackled the far-reaching challenge - to develop a concept that resulted in a net gain for the environment. The GM team crafted an entry that surpasses the contest's sustainability principles: the HUMMER O2 Concept.


"The HUMMER O2 epitomizes the ethos of the true Southern California outdoors enthusiast with rugged capability, a 'tread lightly' contact system and construction methods promoting safety, accessibility and reusability," said Frank Saucedo, director, GM Advanced Design in California . "Most vehicles in L.A. spend 95 percent of their time outdoors subjected to sunlight, so why couldn't a vehicle give back?"

To fully understand the HUMMER O2, the GM team believes that terms commonly associated with ecology and biology work best.



The HUMMER 02 Concept features a revolutionary phototropic body shell that produces pure oxygen throughout the life of the vehicle. Algae-filled body panels transform carbon dioxide into pure oxygen that is subsequently released back into the environment and inside the vehicle.


"The panels essentially function as the 'leaves' of the HUMMER O2 and effectively clean the air in the surrounding environment," said Saucedo. "Used algae are recycled as biomass for the further production of energy."


The HUMMER 02 promotes the production of oxygen by a two-way valve system in the corner of each panel. The sophisticated devices control and monitor the amount of carbon dioxide and source nutrition needed for the algae cultivation while optimizing oxygen production and distribution.



Four modular and self-contained fuel cells power hydraulic motors built into each wheel. A hydrogen tank is placed in an ideal central location for safety and structural purposes, becoming the "heart" of the vehicle.



Active Tread TM tires provide low resistance on the highway while allowing excellent off-road progress as their shape changes - adapting to and protecting the surrounding environment.



Finally, to further reduce environmental impact, the HUMMER O2's construction specifies the use of 100-percent post-consumer materials, including an aluminum frame, seats finished with Volatile Organic Components-free (VOC-free) materials and glazing via PETE (similar to everyday consumer packaging, such as soda bottles).


The GM West Coast Advanced Design Studio won the 2005 Design Challenge competition with its GMC PAD Concept, a mobile urban loft designed for the L.A. environment.


Or the fact that making a hydrogen cannister safe enough for road use makes this concept a massive pipe dream. No way this design could practically and safely house hydrogen. Oh and the range of this thing looks like about ten miles. So it sticks to the Hummer reputation quite well.