Russian design student Nikita Konopatov has unveiled an innovative proposal for an environmentally friendly car with a body made from recyclable plastics. Created as a solution to the worldwide problem of air pollution and the ubiquity of plastics, the design exercise proposes a greener alternative to gas-powered vehicles. In addition to a hydrogen-powered engine, Konopatov has also given his proposed car a futuristic and playful form that looks more like an adorable spaceship than a standard sedan.
Konopatov’s pod-like concept car was created as part of the Volkswagen Group Future Center Europe, a Potsdam, Germany-based initiative for developing mobility concepts of the future. The shape of the proposed fuel-cell vehicle comprises a large cylindrical barrel that would house the driver flanked by two smaller cylindrical barrels in the front and back that roll to move the car.
The designer’s utopian vision goes against the common critiques of hydrogen cars, which have been long dismissed as a viable option due to the expensive and energy-intensive processes to produce pure hydrogen as well as the lack of hydrogen fuel-delivery infrastructure. The vast majority of hydrogen today is produced by the high-carbon process of steam methane reforming. Currently, there are only three major models of hydrogen cars available on the market: the 2015 Toyota Mirai, the Hyundai Next and the Honda Clarity.
“Today, there is a global problem — environmental pollution,” Konopatov said in a email statement to Inhabitat. “Every day we produce and use something that immediately becomes garbage after use. One of the most significant problems is single — use plastic and exhaust gases. Disposable plastic can be recycled and used as a material for the car body. A car with a hydrogen engine can reduce the amount of exhaust gases. The exhaust of a hydrogen-powered car is environmentally friendly. Electric vehicles do not pollute the air, but the production of electric vehicles pollutes the environment, which is mainly due to the energy-intensive production of batteries.”
Images via Nikita Konopatov