Motive Previews The Bison Composite Pickup Design
Calgary, AB – February 1, 2012 – Motive Industries Reveals its New Composite Pick up Design Titled the Bison.
The pickup truck is a key vehicle in many markets worldwide. In particular Alberta Canada (much like Texas and other ranchland, oil industry occupied regions) has an abundance of personally owned and commercial pickup trucks on its roads. In 2011 in Canada, light truck sales were up 4.7% and full size pickups were up 3.2%. Pickups like the Ford F-Series continue to far outsell popular vehicles like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3. In 2011 the F-Series sold 96,325 units compared to the Honda Civic at 55,090 units (Source DesRoisiers).
The Motive pickup, internally named the Bison, is a showcase of what a global market, highly efficient pickup can look like. The packaging of a pickup lends itself well to hybrid powertrains, batteries and fuel storage. This concept is a shell designed to showcase Motive's ability to develop an inspiring pickup design to work with the next and best industry powertrains, renewable fuels, emerging materials and technologies. Starting with a ground up design the engineering involved to package the batteries and powertrain aren't compromised by any pre-developed chassis.
Not only is the general public buying pickups, but the utility and practicality for use in commercial, and municipality applications is ideal and a necessity. With the impending rise in gas prices and the increasing sustainable mindset of the consumer it's inevitable that OEM's will be releasing more efficient pickups in the form of BEV's, hybrids and efficient turbo gas / diesels. Pike Research believes the global market for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electrics vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) will grow at 92% in 2012, with total sales surpassing 19,000.
The Bison is targeting the compact to mid-sized light truck class like the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and even the Honda Ridgeline. The redesigned 2013 Ford Ranger will be sold globally, but won't be sold on our shores. For a brief time there is a gap left from the lack of a Ranger model in North America. The Bison fills this niche well in North America and abroad going slightly upscale with similar exterior dimensions to the outgoing Ranger, but much more cargo space and packaging for advanced powertrains and fuel systems.
More recently consumers have been purchasing vehicles that are closer suited to their needs. The small / compact vehicle market has been booming as people realize they don't need oversized vehicles that can hardly maneuver through crowded suburban city streets. It boasts a bed size of 75" long, 52" wide and 21.5" tall, closer cargo dimensions to the much larger Ford F-Series trucks.
The overall design character is sporty and assertive communicated by its wide front end graphic elements and aggressive wheel arches. The geometrical and angular form language along with wedge profiles throughout evolves the typical square pickup form into something much more modern and provocative. The Bison is targeting the 25-35 year old consumer, or the progressive company requiring utility fleet vehicles who want to make a statement. The stance is important to convey stability and power. The Bison's 2-tone 19" wheels shod in aggressive tread are pushed out to the corners of the truck providing a long wheelbase. Inserts in the wheels can be body color, or a tech looking opaque Lexan for an EV edition. Charcoal colored polymer bumpers are durable and designed to deal with the tough fleet / commercial use in the field. Side step panels are incorporated into the rockers. The panel break up along the bumpers and rocker panels help to visually lighten the truck along with the rising cutout feature in the rocker. This rise in the rocker is a common design feature coming from Motives design ethos influenced by the waistlines of athletic animals like a horse or grey hound. It helps to visually lighten the body, but accentuate the 'chest' or engine bay area of the vehicle.
The ride height is set at 9.5", but can be adjusted to suit the desired suspension setup. Short overhangs create ideal ramp angles for an AWD/4X4 truck. From the side the eye may catch something unique to the profile of the Bison. It has a cab-forward design not seen on pickups today. This is possible in part by less space required in the engine bay to house a V6 or even V8 ICE. The smaller engine bay still provides plenty of room for a powerful small turbo diesel, CNG or pure electric motors.
The cab sides end with a trapezoid brushed aluminum panel, the back edge angles rearward helping to lengthen and unify the entire form of the truck. Blacked out panels at the base of the a-pillar and rear cant rail create the affect of a floating roof contributing to the lightening of the design. More aluminum brightwork is found in a beveled form above the rockers serving as a break in the body side emphasizing the sporty attributes and combined with the aluminum treatment in the front and rear they highlight the premium feel of the overall design. Pickups along with the Bison, are an excellent genre to spec out a variety of trim levels for catering to the practical utility business or the lucrative 35 year old. In an interview by the Edmonton Journal, featured on Driving.ca, Bill Osborne (Ford Canada President) stated "...trucks represent the biggest unrecognized luxury segment in the marketplace with some owners investing $75,000 in their new hauler."
From the rear, more of the geometrical and angular treatment can be found. Along the bumper 2 square reflectors bookend the design playing up the width. Just below the bumper are 2 wide exhaust ports. For the EV example shown these are simply closed with aluminum trim pieces which still work as a nice rear end detail.
The Interior packaging has been laid out to suit the industry standard 95th percentile target occupant dimensions, optimal vision angles, ease of ingress/egress, and is a clean slate for any OEM's desire to implement their desired design, technology, comfort features, etc... There is up to 10" of under-floor platform space for packaging the drive train, batteries or other fuel source.
The Bison is a clean sheet design. There's many groups making a great effort and with good success doing EV conversions on existing vehicles. They have the benefit of proven platform designs that in some cases are backed by the major OEM's that they are sourcing their vehicles from. It can be a great strategy, but many compromises can also occur from this direction. While doing a ground up design is a major undertaking, we suggest using a low volume tooling approach initially, like composite materials and then scaling up to meet demand.
There are many benefits to a composite bodied pickup. The first being it's lightweight. Utilizing carbon fibre can see a weight reduction over steel of 50% where as utilizing fiberglass can see a weight reduction of approximately 30%. A second major benefit with the composite bodied vehicles is the ability to have a profitable low to medium production run model of anywhere between 500 to 25,000 vehicles. The 100,000 + production run model is in many ways becoming difficult to manage as OEM's are struggling to meet the demands of the constantly developing technology and erratic market trends. "...by 2020, the fragmentation of customer needs across the world means that automakers will have to pay more attention to regional demand." (Deloitte) One of the largest differences in these models is in the tooling investment required for stamped steel VS composite. In many cases the costs for composite tooling can be a fraction of the cost of similar stamped steel tooling. This allows an OEM to manufacture a vehicle at a much lower production run and still make a profit.
Being located in the heart of Alberta, Motive felt it was important to present the Bison pickup concept as an answer to the inefficient heavy mid-sized pickups we see on the roads today. The Bison is a great example of what a modern premium truck can be and an excellent blueprint for an OEM to consider and put their personal touch on.
Motive is an elite transportation design firm specializing in advanced design and advanced material manufacturing application. Over the past 15 years the Motive team has worked on more than 120 vehicle programs including 10 full electric vehicle programs. The company's unique blend of design capabilities and industry experience has allowed Motive to create processes which accelerate project cycles, reduce cost and decrease time to market. Motive works with existing car companies and manufacturing partners worldwide to architect advanced vehicles from concept through production. www.motiveind.com
Motive Industries Inc.