(from Italdesign Press Release) BMW hydrogen power
Once again, Geneva offers the
opportunity to develop research on form and contents that break away
from the industrial approach that Italdesign Giugiaro adopt daily in
order to supply their worldwide clients with designs that best suit
“diversion” this year represents a niche theme meant to be heatedly
discussed: a super-sporty extreme two-seater fuelled by hydrogen to
meet the increasingly pressing need to
promote and develop alternative and environment friendly propulsion
systems and to explore the potential challenge offered to design by
a more flexible “displacement” of the chassis lay-out in
new engine, mechanical, and electronic equipments.
The decision to remove
the steering wheel took Italdesign Giugiaro to the creation of a
highly innovative driving system: two joysticks are fixed on the
armrests of the pilot’s seating and pedals unit, where all elements
can be adjusted and customized to the driver’s needs. The
armrest/joystick/ electrical pedals and seating unit is not
connected to the chassis. This and its by-wire impulses system
allow to adapt the different versions with right, centre and left
driving with no onerous works once the vehicle should go into
production. This system presents design - construction and
performance - characteristics that prompted Italdesign Giugiaro to
VAD.HO is meant to be an
open “work in progress": it has been positively welcome by BMW that
accepted to provide for it their series 7 12 cylinders hydrogen
One curiosity: the
acronym “VAD.HO” is a play on words that uses the name of the Vadò
industrial area in Moncalieri where Italdesign Giugiaro headquarters
have been located since 1974, and also
refers to the hydrogen propulsion system adopted for the vehicle
(vado - or “I go" in Italian - on H).
This model immediately
puts all its ambitions on the line: a longitudinal cockpit in
polycarbonate emerges on the left-hand side while the right side
houses the engine and hydrogen propulsion
devices in the centre. The two Argonauts are seated in tandem in the
fuselage, settled into a comfortable and super-equipped ergonomic
The joysticks are fixed
in the armrests that are integral with the pilot seat (the left
armrest can be raised to facilitate getting in and out of the
technicians believe that this solution facilitates naturally
comfortable – and therefore stable and precise – steering manoeuvres
and activation of all the joystick commands, including
driving and secondary devices such as entertainment and other
In order to facilitate
manoeuvres in curves without having to twist or rotate your wrists,
the joysticks were conceived with two grips that help the necessary
movements. The joystick moves back and
forth along the armrest to ensure driver comfort, as well as the
sliding pedal block that, hinged on the lower part, adjusts to the
seat, which is in turn fixed to the chassis.
The control group is
designed as an IT console with liquid crystal displays designed for
aeronautic applications (EFIS - Electronic Flight Information
Systems). The digital driving instrumentation is
positioned centrally under the rear-view continual video monitors
and the navigator; side video cameras project films externally. The
surface occupied by the instrumentation is in any case limited, in
order to allow the pilot maximum external visibility.
Access to IT data from
the console is also available to the rear passenger by means of a
dedicated joystick, similar to the driver's, and two monitors built
into the back of the driver's seat. The faces
of both pilot and passenger are filmed by video cameras and may
appear on reciprocal monitors to enhance team interaction.
Thanks to video cameras installed in the frontal optical group, the
driver can use the monitors either for parking radar and for an
infrared effect for night-time driving, or interactive driving
between the car and road infrastructures, when they become
Passengers get into the
vehicle through two integrated doors/domes that are hinged
lengthwise onto the structure and lift gull-wing style. The living
space for the pilot and passenger are definitely comfortable because
they were calculated at an "OSCAR percentile” larger than 95% and
therefore more spacious than those of a luxury sedan. The rear
passenger is able to stretch out his legs and change his position by
adjusting the footrest platforms on the sides of the front seat. The
armchairs are also equipped with four-point belts that can be
regulated all around.
Passenger safety in case
of collision or overturning is guaranteed by structural side
reinforcements, the steel roll bar on which the two semi-domes rest,
and the activation of the air bags in the oval strip
under the structure at the cockpit base. The cell is equipped with
“umbrella” airbags that surround both the pilot and the passenger.
The upholstery materials
chosen for the interior are in metallic and phosphorescent opaque
grey tones: both for the silver leather armchairs and the synthetic
pieces in aeronautic styling. Bolder
effects were used in areas around the control console.
ambitions of this project have imposed a wedgeshaped volume, backed
up by very subtle lines and modulations that are never forced or
exasperating, but rather in perfect
harmony with those parameters of balance and elegance that
distinguish the Giugiaro trademark.
The introduction of
stylistic features was intentionally avoided on this project, which
is undoubtedly oriented towards contents. In fact, the VAD.HO body
is characterised by a feasible decomposition with regards to
production logics and meets international homologation regulations
(including pedestrian accidents).
Even the overall
dimensions are “reasonable”. The figures are close to those of the
Ferrari Maranello, a compact two-seater with similar performances:
4550 mm long, 1980 mm wide, and 1150 mm high,
like Enzo model.
aerodynamic penetration requirements are enhanced by the reduction
in the main section because the windscreen/cockpit impacts on only
half of the vehicle.
The nose presents a
screwed-on bumper block with ample air intakes. The lower zone of
the bonnet features an adjustable spoiler in between the
“pagoda”-shaped ridges formed by the fenders that smooth off into
The optical devices are
housed in a drop-shaped recess that begins with the bumpers and
narrows towards the sides: this cavity houses the dual-function
projector, the position and direction LEDs,
a video camera at the top, and the passenger compartment air intake.
transparent dome gives this car a strong personality; the windscreen
wiper is hidden under the small crowl. From the side, the profile of
the fender crest is sinuous and dips towards the centre, while a
bird’s eye view confirms the designer’s will to make the front more
aggressive and modulated and the tail softer and sharper.
The originality of the
cockpit's asymmetric solution is even more visible in VAD.HO central
body. The fairing of the engine air system, the filter, and the
electronics can be seen on lowered section that houses the engine.
Since the cut of the passenger door is repeated symmetrically on the
engine side, the engine block can be simply accessed by raising the
large panel/trapezoidal door hinged onto the centre line with a
gull-wing movement. The recess of the side indicator also serves as
housing for the video camera.
The blunt one-piece rear end recalls the Corvette, but is
characterised by the line of the bonnet with its asymmetric profile
because it must converge with the dipping line of the cockpit and
the side/engine line.
The trunk capacity for a
super-sporty two-seater is truly remarkable: 550 dm3.
The rear end view is
“carved” to emphasize all the aggressiveness of this vehicle’s
nature. The “G” Giugiaro logo was adopted to house the rear stop
LEDs with striking media impact.
VAD.HO is following up
the content research started by Italdesign Giugiaro with 2004 Toyota
Alessandro Volta with hybrid propulsion and the 2005 Mitsubishi
Nessie that runs on hydrogen; while the formal aspects evoke the
design of the 1988 Aztec, which even then offered driver and
passenger a chance to slide into a definitely attractive
“aeronautic” atmosphere with a formula that today is much more
easily feasible thanks to IT innovations and by wire technologies
that have been tested and nowadays are considered to be reliable.
This evocation of the
world of aeronautics is shown again in the colours choice for the
body - opaque silver-grey -, in the service decals on the engine
equipment and the fuel tank, and the use of large 20" solid tyres.