As always, the Geneva Motor Show provides inspiration for a search for form and content that breaks away from the industrial approach to present the most appropriate project solutions to clients from around the world. This year, Italdesign Giugiaro tackled a niche subject: an extreme, two-seater sports car powered by hydrogen.
© Photo: Speed Heads
The so-called Vad.Ho is Giugiaro's response to the need to promote alternative, environmentally friendly propulsion systems and to explore new design possibilities created by the more flexible arrangement of engine, mechanics and electronics. The acronym "VadHò " refers both to the industrial area of Vadò in Moncalieri, where the headquarters of Italdesign Giugiaro have been located since 1974, and to the vehicle's hydrogen drive (vado a H = I drive with H).
As the Vad.Ho does not have a steering wheel, the pilot's functions are determined by two joysticks located in the armrests of the seat pedal units, whose apparatus can be adjusted and adapted to the driver's typology. Electronic control of the seat, armrests, joysticks and pedals is independent of the chassis, by-wire pulses would allow conversion to right-, center- or left-hand drive without costly intervention, setting the stage for series production. Ad BMW took the Giugiaro Vad.Ho positive on. For example, the Bavarians supplied the hydrogen-powered 12-cylinder as the power unit, which is also used in the BMW Hydrogen 7. The transmission of power takes place in the Giugiaro Vad.Ho to the rear wheels. Shifted by the 7-speed SMG sequential gearbox.
The aerodynamically sophisticated package
The sportiness and racing ambitions of this project required a wedge-shaped course and the application of soft, harmonious lines in line with those parameters of balance and elegance that characterize Giugiaro design. The designer did not intend to introduce too pronounced stylistic elements for a project undoubtedly focused on content. The Vad.Ho complies with international approval standards, including the directive on pedestrian protection.
© Photo: Speed Heads
The 1.Giugiaro's 150 kg lightweight vehicle has similar dimensions to the Ferrari Maranello, a compact two-seater with analogous performance: it is 4.55 meters long, 1.98 meters wide and, like the Enzo, 1.15 meters high. Of course, here the conditions for wind slippage are better due to the reduction of the front section; because the windshield or. Dome affects only one half of the sports car.
The front end features a bolt-on bumper unit with large air intakes. In the lower area of the hood shows an adjustable spoiler integrated between the sharp-angled ridges of the fenders, which define a pagoda-shaped section and then find their continuation in the side panel.
In a teardrop-shaped recess, which starts from the bumper, are the light units with parking lights as well as turn signals. At the top there is also a camera. An opening for ventilation of the interior. Giugiaro sunk the wiper for the dome into the lower edge of the windshield. In the side view, the profile of the fender ridge is sinuous and lower in the central area. And it is the zenith view that confirms the designer's intention to make the nose more aggressive and the rear more gentle.
The central body of the Giugiaro Vad.Ho uses all the originality of the asymmetrical solution of the cockpit. In the lower section that houses the engine, the fairings of the intake manifold, filter and electronics are visible. The trunk capacity of 550 liters proves impressive for a sports car.
Contact with the road is provided by 20-inch alloy wheels from OZ Racing with 275/35 tires at the front and 315/35 at the rear. Meanwhile, a high-performance braking system from Brembo curbs propulsion; front 380×34 millimeter disc brakes with 8-piston calipers. Rear counterparts measuring 355 x 32 millimeters with 4-piston brake calipers.
© Photo: Speed Heads
The interior under the dome
The model reveals all its ambitions at first sight: on the left, a cockpit-shaped dome rises longitudinally in polycarbonate, while on the right, in the center, the engine and the devices for hydrogen propulsion have been placed. The two Argonauts sit in a comfortable cell one behind the other in the fuselage.
Two joysticks are located in the armrests attached to the driver's seat; the left armrest folds up to facilitate access to the vehicle. Designers and technicians believe that this solution makes the steering operations and the operation of all the controls on the joystick – those for driving and those for the individual secondary devices for entertainment and options – very ergonomic, stable and precise.
In order to facilitate the steering maneuvers in the curve and not to cause strain or excessive twisting of the wrists, the bars of the handle were designed with two grip points that support the movement. The joystick moves forward or backward along the armrest to adapt to the driver's morphology. The same applies to the pedal group, fixed at the bottom by hinges, which moves in relation to the seat fixed to the vehicle floor.
The dashboard unit is an airplane-like display console with liquid crystal display. Digital instruments with driving data are located in the middle position below the rearview mirror and navigation system screens. The rear passenger also has access to information on the dashboard via a joystick. Two monitors built into the backrest of the driver's seat are accessible. The driver's and passenger's faces captured by cameras can be transferred to the respective screens to make the interaction more engaging.
© Photo: Speed Heads
Thanks to the cameras located in the area of the front headlights group, in addition to the radar for parking maneuvers, the driver can see the effects of the infrared beams for night driving and the interactive steering systems between the vehicle and the road infrastructures on the screens.
For access to the interior, the two parts firmly hinged to the longitudinal structure (door and dome) are moved upwards like a seagull's wing. The space available for driver and passenger. The rear passenger can fully extend his or her legs. Find his ideal position with the help of the adjustable footrests available on the side of the front seat. The seats, which are equipped with four-point seat belts, also have numerous adjustment options. The materials chosen for the interior are metallic matte gray, the silver leather of the seats and the synthetic inserts are phosphorescent.
Passenger protection in the event of a collision or rollover is guaranteed by the structural reinforcements in the side wall, the steel arch of the roll bar on which the two halves of the dome rest, and the deployment of the airbags located at the foot of the cockpit. The cell is also equipped with umbrella-shaped airbags that surround both the driver and the front passenger.