Press and Releases

The LITECAR Challenge has finished, and the Local Motors Co-creation Community came up with some great ideas and designs. We are pleased to present the winning entries.

Grand Prize Winner — $60,000 — Andres Tovar — Aerodynamic water droplet with strong lightweight bone structure

Our Grand Prize winner, Andres Tovar, had an amazing entry that wowed our judges. Andres is an assistant professor at the School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). His design was modeled after a water droplet made of a polymer composite. The comparison of the structure of the car to the human body was an intuitive and fresh idea. Andres said, “In my design, the vehicle rib cage (frame) is designed to protect an aerodynamic structure with the shape of a water droplet.” Andres thought outside the box and took into account the safety of the passengers. The vehicle design has the potential to become a real product.

First Runner Up — $40,000 — Sumit Lakhera and Feyzi Aras — SKELETOS

The First Runner Up in the LITECAR Challenge was SKELETOS, submitted by Sumit Lakhera and Feyzi Aras. Sumit is from India and Feyzi is from Turkey, and they are both master’s degree students in car design at Domus Academy in Milan, Italy. This team designed the chassis of a vehicle just like the bones in our bodies. The chassis would be made of a compact honeycomb structure that would be almost solid on the outside and less dense toward the middle, just like the human skeleton. “Our design is purely inspired by bones,” Sumit said. “Bones being tougher than granite, many times tensile and compressible than concrete and 4-5 times lighter than steel made us think and study about its structural and material composition.”

Second Runner Up — $20,000 — Wilburn Whittington, David Francis and Kyle Johnson — Metal Matrix Metallic Composite (3MC)

The Second Runners Up in this challenge were Wilburn Whittington, David Francis and Kyle Johnson with their Metal Matrix Metallic Composite. They are all from Starkville, Miss. Kyle and Wilburn are graduate students at MSU CAVS (Mississippi State University Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems). David is a post-doc who graduated from MSU CAVS two years ago. Their 3MC entry would improve lightweight technologies by making aluminum and magnesium panels. “The main focus was to mechanically combine metals in a way that is robust, yet scalable,” Wilburn said. “After brainstorming, we thought up a clever method to adapt that process to a new process for combining magnesium and aluminum into plates for rolling and forming of body panels.”

Innovative Design — $10,000 — Yuqing Zhou, Jeff Xu and Kazuhiro Saitou — MANTA: Lightweight Concept Vehicle Design

Yuqing Zhou, Jeff Xu and Kazuhiro Saitou’s entry is the winner of the most innovative design. They are from the University of Michigan. Yuqing is a PhD student of mechanical engineering, and Jeff is a senior at the Penny W Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan specializing in industrial design. Kazuhiro is a professor of mechanical engineering at U of M. This entry had some unique elements: no windows, unconventional doors and virtual reality to pilot the car. “I was inspired by the slippery forms of various fishes, drawing upon the brilliance of nature,” Yuqing said. “The design also pays homage to the UM Solar Car.”

Innovative Safety — $10,000 — Alexander Rivera — Modular Sprung Pod Car

The entry that won the innovative safety award was the Modular Sprung Pod Car by Alexander Rivera. Alexander is from Edgewater, Md., and is a systems/mechanical engineer and owner of Dot Engineering. His modular design protects passengers by redirecting impact forces into vertical lift and by using the suspension-chassis system to absorb energy. The judges selected it as the most innovative safety design. “After translating the LITECAR Challenge requirements into system solution design objectives,” Alexander said, “it became clear that converting collision impact energy was the most promising approach to lessening required chassis structure without compromising occupant protection.”

Community Favorite — $10,000 — Sheetanshu Tyagi and Anthony Kim — APALIS

Community Favorite is the APALIS by Anthony Kim and Sheetanshu Tyagi, which received the highest scores from the Local Motors Co-creation Community. Sheetanshu is from India and is studying for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. Anthony studies industrial design at Sejong University in South Korea. The team reduced weight by 50% in the APALIS. They gave it interesting features such as in-wheel motors and a nanomaterial panel. APALIS design was inspired from a capsule tower to adapt the modular cabin-like design to accommodate five passengers. “Winning an event this big against so many talented people feels wonderful,” Sheetanshu said. Anthony added: “I am so glad to be appreciated by the community.”