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Hydrogen-powered Z.Car Concept to Debut at Guggenheim

Excerpted from Emma Forrest article on Z.Car. Additional photos of the Z.Car design available here

Published: 03-Aug-2006

Architect Zaha Hadid may not be the first name to cross your mind when you think "concept car." But after creating a plant for BMW in Leipzig, Germany, and a car park in Strasbourg, France, Hadid needed to design an actual car to complete her automotive set. Or so thought car collector and art dealer Kenny Schachter, who had exhibited work from her studio at his London gallery. Craving a way to combine design with his love of cars, he commissioned Hadid last fall to create an original concept car. The resulting Z.Car project, which will premiere at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, might be viewed as the first car designed for the new century. Hadid’s very unlikelihood made her ideal for the job.

Hadid's team set down some basic criteria of its own. They specified a practical city vehicle: easy to park and environmentally friendly. They chose a fuel cell with electric drive to power it. Says Borstelmann, "We wanted it to be very quiet and not create a lot of noise pollution, and to use renewable energies that limit environmental damage."

Hadid's office was interested in exploring how a car could affect its driver's behavior in the city. "We thought that driving around in a car like this might make you see your environment in a different way," suggests Borstelmann. Conceived to be built from carbon-fiber composite, using "drive-by-wire" technology, the car is lightweight as well as small. "Perhaps it would make you more conscious, more aware. You are enclosed in a passenger pod; it's very different from a regular car."

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