Mazda took top honors at the LA Design Challenge this week with its KAAN car/bike/trike concept. According to the press release:
The MAZDA KAAN is an electric race car designed to compete in the E1 races, the pinnacle of international motorsports in terms of technology and popularity. In 2025, California freeways have been resurfaced with a sub-level electro-conductive polymer that powers the electric cars of the modern world. MAZDA’s patented electronic tire system uses this technology to power the KAAN to reach 250 mph with no harmful emissions!
The vehicles are piloted by individual drivers but teams are made up of thirty cars, all on the track together. Using strategies similar to those in cycling peletons, the tighter the group sticks together, the more aerodynamic and powerful it becomes.
Inspiration for the KAAN comes from electric fields and textures seen in nature, particularly those in a lightning bolt. The car is uniquely designed around its powerful electric wheels while the cockpit acts as a capsule to safely house the driver, allowing for tighter peloton formations and a team victory.
The theme of the competition was to depict what motorsports would be like in 2025. Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles, said that the choice was made because Mazda’s entry was “the most innovative and artistic design,” and that the KAAN “ultimately brought unique styling back to motorsports.” I don’t know if I would classify this as a car really, technically in California vehicles with 3 wheels fall into the motorcycle designation.
Technology aside, the design is striking and who wouldn’t want to go 250mph in a peleton of 30 car/bike/whatevers?