City 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity: this was the theme for the ninth annual Michelin Design Challenge, an international automotive design competition for individual designers, teams, studios, and companies.
Among the many full-size vehicles, scale models and renderings submitted for the 2011 competition, a few were selected via a panel of automotive execs for the Michelin Design Showcase–among them, the Manta electric vehicle concept. Is it a car? A boat? It’s both–or rather, it’s ”a one person amphibious vehicle“ designed for superior handling and speed, both on land and in the water. This electric 3-wheeler is, the description suggests, ideal for those lucky folks who live close to a lake and may not want to trouble themselves with the whole business of putting in and taking out via boat trailer.
The Manta’s wheels–the rear ones powered by their own in-wheel electric motors–were designed as blades and can be turned 90° in water to propel the vehicle. Designer David Cardoso Loureiro of Belgium believes that this concept would be relatively simple to build, making it ”a low cost vehicle that gives the driver great driving sensations.”