I see so many student projects that it takes a lot to impress me these days. Perhaps it’s because I’m jaded, perhaps I’m getting old. Either way, I was blown away by Dennis Stephan’s Hypergen Motors, a project developed for his Art Center Transportation Design thesis.
Hypergen Motors is not just one but five new vehicles based on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Each has a different purpose and can be rented through a subscription service, used on-demand or purchased outright. It’s a new business model that many manufacturers have embarked upon, and it makes a lot of sense given the use case and the overall paradigm shift in the mobility space.
“The mission was to create a line-up of five vehicles that would all be driven by new package requirements,” says Stephan. “None of the cars rely on feature lines or shapes on surfaces, instead, all cars share the same DNA through form and volume. It was crucial that – besides the very product design approach – the vehicles would still have great stance and extreme proportion to celebrate the emotional side of car design and excite customers about the future of fuel cell technology.”
The vehicles are interesting in their own right, and I’m a sucker for any student that creates a whole new mobility brand featuring multiple vehicles and tells a compelling story as well as develops a strategy behind its marketability. This is where Stephan went the extra mile to deliver something that is truly outstanding.
Stephan not only researched, designed and rendered the five Hypergen vehicles, but he created a company website to showcase them all. He purchased the domain name, built the website, added the content and even set up an email for prospective customers to get in touch (it works, I tried it). There’s even an online configurator and a branded clothing line! Stephan says he wanted to break away from the conventional PDF-style thesis presentation, and the result is resolutely next-level.
Here’s a bit of detail on the five concept vehicles he created and their intended use-case:
The HY.0 is a unique AI-racing platform developed specifically for the Roborace series. The subscription-based service was created for companies and universities. The vehicle’s hard- and software is managed by each individual team and can be adjusted for every race during the season.
The HY.1 is an ultra-performance hydrogen-powered hypercar developed for private use and offered for individual sale. True to its performance ambitions (the car is said to produce 2400hp, accelerate to 60mph in 1.6 seconds and achieve a 250mph top speed), it’s one of only two cars in the range with a steering wheel. Stephan included a configurator to showcase the different wheel designs and color combinations available for the exterior and interior. The amount of dedication and time that went into that level of detail is simply mind-boggling.
The HY.2 is a three-passenger autonomous urban vehicle with a bench seat. According to the website, “The all-new Hypergen HY.2 is truly something to behold. On the outside, clean and powerful design makes for a striking, confident presence on the road. On the inside, plenty of room makes for a spacious, living room-style cabin – it will transform how you feel about traveling. Best of all? It starts at $250”. Nice marketing, Dennis…
The HY.3 is the more ‘conventional’ of the five vehicles; effectively a modern interpretation of the practical four-door sedan in a monovolume form. It can accommodate four passengers and their luggage in a package that is 4080mm long, 2060mm wide and 1460mm tall. There’s an additional ‘trunk’ that can sit on the rear of the car for more cargo capacity, too.
The HYGO is a four-passenger mobility pod, again available on a subscription service. Users enter the vehicle through an individual door and sit in their own standing seat facing outwards. The square-shaped mobility device is fully autonomous and features spherical wheels – which enable movement in any direction – and storage areas above the wheels inside the vehicle.
Regardless of whether you like the project or not, it’s hard to fault Stephan’s remarkable attention to detail in completing his thesis project. The mock website is better than some real company set-ups I’ve seen. Looking at it, one could easily be fooled into believing that it’s an actual start-up carmaker coming to market. It’s that convincing. And Stephan didn’t stop there. He also set up an Instagram account teasing the reveal of the company and its website!
Dennis Stephan just upped the ante for anyone in any transportation design school looking to get the attention of would-be employers. He went the extra mile and it shows. His incredible attention to detail will surely pay dividends in any future role he embarks upon.