Composite technology is stretched to the limit on the exterior of the KG-1 concept car, an eerily humanoid vehicle introduced by KesselsGranger Design Works, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, at the AutoRAI 2009 in Amsterdam. The lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced skin, stretched around the exterior frame, retains its elasticity and strength. Manufactured by TenCate, Almelo, The Netherlands, the composite can be made water and dirt repellent, heat resistant, fire retardant, UV stable, perforation resistant and even luminous. “The human skin has a function,” says James Granger, one of the car’s designers. “It protects, repels water. It’s strong, but flexible. We have translated these characteristics into the design.”
The car’s unusual appearance mimics human anatomy, which inspired designers Granger, Steven Kessels and team. The roof varies in height, allowing the driver to sit up and the passenger to recline. Solar panels and lights can be woven into the design, and the frame and skin can move along with the steering wheel, following the movements of the human skeleton. “You can integrate moving images and sound into the textile,” says Granger. “The color can change in an instant. The car can lighten up in the dark. You name it.” For more information on the KG-1, visit KesselsGranger Design Works at www.dutchdesignlounge.com.