ItalDesign developed the VAD.HO., a super sporty two-seat which works on the base of hydrogen. The most interesting fact is the new driving system and that the steering wheel was removed. The entries into the car are two integrated doors, hinged lengthwise onto the structure and a lift gull-wing style. The driver and passenger space is much larger than those of a luxury sedan. The passenger safety is guaranteed by structural side reinforcements and the activation of the air bags in the oval strip under the structure at the cockpit base. The cell is equipped with airbags that surround both the pilot and the passenger. The color used is opaque silver-grey that reminds us of aeronautics and also the equipment and the fuel tank and the 20-inch large solid tires do too.
Geneva hosted again breaking innovations coming from Italdesign Giugiaro. In its continuous trial to give their worldwide clients designs that best fit their markets, Italdesign Giugiaro developed a niche theme: a super-sporty two-seater, which works on the base of hydrogen. The purpose of this innovation was to promote and develop alternatives for fiendly propulsion systems and protection measures for the environment. The name itself „VAD HO" refers to the hydrogen propulsion system adopted for the vehicle (vado - or „I go" in Italian - on H), The acronym also uses the name of the Vado industrial area in Moncalieri, the headquarters of Italdesign Giuriaro since 1974.
At the same time, they tried a more flexible chassis layouy displacement in new engine, mechanical and electronic equipments.
The most interesting fact regarding this new driving system is that the steering wheel was removed. This determined the fixing of two joysticks on the armrest of the pilot's seating and pedal units. This way the driver can adjust all the elements in whatever way he wished to. The joysticks are fixed in the armrests, which are integrated within the pilot seat (the left armrest can be raised in order to ease the getting in and out of the car).
However, the unit consisting in armrest/joystick/ electrical pedals and seating is not connected to the chassis, which together with the by-wire impulses system allows to adapt the different versions with right, centre and left driving. VAD.HO is also of high-interest since it has been positively welcome by BMW. The German brand agreed to providing for it its series 7 12 cylinders hydrogen powered engine.
As for the cockpit, one can be impressed by the longitudinal shape of the cockpit in polycarbonate, which is positioned on the left-hand side. The engine and hydrogen propulsion devices are located on the right side. This solution is believed to allow the driver stable and precise steering manouvres and activation of all the joystick commands, including driving and secondary devices such as entertainment and other options.
The two joysticks are designed with two grips that help the driver give up on the twisting or rotating its wrist. The confort is ensured by the back and forth moves along the armrest. Also the sliding pedal block has the same move directions, is hinged on the lower part and adjusts to the seat, but still is connected to the chassis.
The control group, which is an IT console, has liquid crystal displays designed for aeronautic applications (EFIS - Electronic Flight Information Systems). The surface occupied by the digital driving instrumentation, which is positioned centrally under the rear-view continual video monitors and the navigator, is limited so that the pilot can can also acces the IT data from the console since they have acces to have maximum external visibility. The rear passengers have access to a joystick, which is similar to the driver's, and to two monitors embedded in the back of the driver's seat. A very friendly aspect of this new car is that the passenger and pilot can interact through being filmed by video cameras. This way they can see each other on reciprocal monitors. Since the cameras are installed in the frontal optical group, they can be also used for parking radar and for an infrared effect for night-time driving, or interactive driving between the car and the road infrastructures, if available.
The entries into the car are two integrated doors/domes, hinged lenghtwise onto the structure and a lift gull-wing style. Since the living space for the driver and passenger has been calculated at an „OSCAR percentile" larger than 95%, it is much more larger than those of a luxury sedan. It offers so much freedom that the passenger can strecht out his legs and even change his position by adjusting the footrest platforms on the sides of the front seat. The armchairs are also equipped with four-point belts that can be regulated all around.
The tones for the interior upholstery material are metallic and phosphorescent opaque grey.: both for the silver leather armchairs and the synthetic pieces in aeronautic styling. More prominent effects were adopted around the control console. As for the passenger's safety, this is guaranteed by structural side reinforcements, the steel roll bar on which the two semi-domes rest, and the activation of the air bags in the oval strip under the structure at the cockpit base. The cell is equipped with "umbrella" airbags that surround both the pilot and the passenger.
The fact that it is rather a race car imposed a wedge-shaped volume, backed up by very subtle lines and modulations, never brought to the extreme but in perfect harmony with those parameters of balance and elegance that represent the Giugiaro trademark. The project avoided stylistic characteristics to offer content in turn. VAD.HO is following up the content research started by Italdesign Giugiaro with 2004 Toyota Alessandro Volta with hybrid propulsion and the 2005 Mitsubishi Nessie that runs on hydrogen; while the formal aspects evoke the design of the 1988 Aztec, which even then offered driver and passenger a chance to slide into a definitely attractive "aeronautic" atmosphere with a formula that today is much more easily feasible thanks to IT innovations and by wire technologies that have been tested and nowadays are considered to be reliable.
The VAD.HO body is characterised by a feasible decomposition with regards to production logics and meets international homologation regulations (including pedestrian accidents). The dimensions do not exceed the limits. It is very similar to Ferrari Maranello, a compact two-seater with similar performances: 4550 mm long, 1980 mm wide, and 1150 mm high, like Enzo model. The trunk capacity for a super-sporty two-seater is truly remarkable: 550 dm3.The asymmetric transparent dome brings out the strong personality of the car; the windscreen wiper is hidden under the small crowl. From the side, the profile of the fender crest is sinuous and dips towards the centre, while a bird's eye view confirms the designer's will to make the front more aggressive and modulated and the tail softer and sharper.
The reduction in the main section ameliorates the aerodynamic penetration requirements because the windscreen /cockpit impacts on only half of the vehicle. The nose presents a screwed-on bumper block with ample air intakes. The lower zone of the bonnet is featured by an adjustable spoiler in between the "pagoda"-shaped ridges formed by the fenders that smooth off into the sides.
The notching of the rear end view is ment to underline the agressivenes of this vehicle's nature. The "G" Giugiaro logo was adopted to house the rear stop LEDs with striking media impact.
The drop-shaped recess, begining with the bumper and narrowing towards the sides hosts the optical devices: the dual-function projector, the position and direction LEDs, a video camera at the top, and the passenger compartment air intake.
The VAD.HO central body underlines even more the originality of the cockpit's asymmetric solution. The fairing of the engine air system, the filter, and the electronics can be seen on lowered section that houses the engine. The engine block can be simply accessed by raising the large panel/trapezoidal door hinged onto the centre line with a gull-wing movement since the cut of the passenger door is repeated symmetrically on the engine side. The recess of the side indicator also serves as housing for the video camera.
The blunt one-piece rear endreminds one of the Corvette, the single difference being the line of the bonnet with its asymmetric profile because it must converge with the dipping line of the cockpit and the side/engine line.
The world of aeronautics is again evoked by colors like opaque silver-grey, the engine equipment and the fuel tank, and the use of large 20" solid tyres.
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