March 5, 2015

M-Zero - India's First Hybrid Sports Car by Mean Metal Motors - Concept 1

Last year I started working with Sarthak Paul, Co-Founder of Mean Metal Motors with the mission of creating India's first street legal Hybrid-Electric Sports Car.

Mean Metal Motors logo

The car would have to feature unique design solutions that would be integrated with the its technical aspects, and would convey a clear message of the brand's values - advanced technology meets sharp design with old-school references. In the first concept phase, Pedro Almeida (designer of the VeecoRT) and I explored features that would make it stand out from the general Automotive Design scene and thus reflect the brand's intentions of innovation and uniqueness.
Another inspiration was the Mean Metals logo itself -- and the way it represents a metal sheet that is folded over and over in sharp edges forming the M that stands for the Company's name.

As for inspiration from giants in the Automotive History, the Split-Window Corvette Stingray and the Plymouth XNR played an important role on the general shape and also on some details.

Both the Stingray and the XNR inspired one of the most relevant design features - the Crosshair Design. It arranjes the necessary lighting elements - rear position lamps, centre brake lamp and rear fog lamp in a way that resembles a weapon crosshair, adding aggressiveness to the whole. The four lights are housed in a recess that strengthens the overall shape, which also serves as formal continuity to the Vertical Stabilizer, the car's shoulder lines, the rotated square shaped exhaust (in the centre of the crosshair) and the Deflectors.

Using the Mean Metal Motors logo as a reference, one specific shape -- its triangles -- influenced the design of several elements throughout the car -- the outlets on the hood, the intakes on the roof and the outlets and side intakes (present in the sketching phase).

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero initial sketchMarcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero sketches

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero sketch rear 3/4 view

The main idea for the front was to repeat the presence of a transversal element (the horizontal arms of the crosshair in the rear), either using a protuding shape or reinterpreting the "recess" theme of the rear. The design would also serve as a base for the headlights, especially the position lights.

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero sketches front 3/4 view

As the design evolved from sketches to 3D several elements were added; some were modified.
The headlights were redesigned, leaving the horizontal grille more clear and easier to perceive. Their shape were defined in line with the already present Triangle Design.

The strakes on the hood are defined by the beltline all the way from the rear and the crosshair housing, connecting to the lower panels on the face, contributing to a consistent design.

The shoulder line was designed to convey dynamism to the M-Zero's body, defined mainly by two lines - one that starts on the front and ends below the A-Pillar and another that stretches from the horizontal crosshair arm to the same area as the first, connecting to the front wheel arch. It was detailed in such a way that starts as a chamfer in the rear and in the front, coherent with the crosshair's and front grille's chamfers, but gradually narrows to a single edge just below the A-Pillar, behind the front wheel.

In the rear, the deflector follows the design of the crosshair housing and its fins are "Fibonacci" spaced, progressively increasing the distance between them, the more farther away they are from the center line.

Below are some images of the final M-Zero Concept 01 3D model.

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero render front

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero render 3/4 rear

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero render rear

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero render aerial view

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero render top view

Marcelo Aguiar Mean Metal Motors M-Zero render aerial view dimensions

M-Zero Concept 01 Specifications

Layout: 2-seater Sports Car
Powertrain: Serial Hybrid Electric

Wheelbase: 2380mm
Length: 4000mm
Width: 1890mm
Height: 1220mm

Similar cars (layout and dimensions): Alfa Romeo 4c, Lotus Elise, Smart Roadster