Four students from India have acquired overnight fame after a futuristic car they designed as part of a team project earned rave reviews at an international motor expo in Switzerland. The master’s students, three of whom are from Mumbai and one is from Pune, study at an Italian design school and collaborated with a magazine from the country on the project.
SYRMA at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month
The sleek-looking car was designed by a group of 11 post-graduate students of Istituto Europeo di Design (IED), a design institute in Italy. Amongst the eleven team members are Marshin Bhatt (25), Rahul Sadwelkar (23), and Sunny Ramrakhiani (31) – all from Mumbai, and Gaurav Jagtap (26), from Pune. Other designers hail from Poland, China, Israel, Taiwan, Iran and Mexico. The project was the final thesis project for the masters course in transportation design, in collaboration with Italian car magazine, Quattroruote, and garnered rave reviews at the Geneva Motor Show 2015.
Not the batmobile: The IED Syrma hybrid supercar is a concept focused on safety and created at the request of Italian motoring publication Quattroruote.
“The theme given to us was to design a modern and futuristic car which uses techniques that could make sense in the future. We chose to design a car giving extra attention to safety features not only for the driver, but also pedestrians,” said Sadwelkar, who spoke to mid-day from Italy. The 23-year-old moved to IED in 2010 and, after completing his bachelors in car design in 2013, joined the same institute for a master’s course on scholarship basis.
The team of 11 designers from IED includes four from India and others from Poland, China, Israel, Taiwan, Iran and Mexico.
Bhatt, a student of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology in Andheri, joined IED in 2013. “I used to sketch cars since I was in school and had my own collection of posters and magazines. Work is fun when you do what you always wanted to do,” he said, adding that his family is proud to see his dreams turn into reality. Bhatt hopes to move on to bigger challenges. “Who knows, I may open a design consultancy firm one day.”
Rahul Sadwelkar’s family in Kandivli, with Rahul seen on the screen via Skype. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Coined SYRMA by the team, this vehicle features an extremely innovative layout: three staggered front seats with the driver in the centre and the engine at the rear. “The concept has a hybrid propulsion system with a V6 twin turbo, approximately 4-litre engine and an electric engine that, together, deliver around 900 horsepower. Using the electric engine, this rear-wheel drive vehicle could circulate freely in city centres, effectively reducing air pollution,” said Sadwelkar.
The vehicle starts with the electric engine and later switches to the fuel engine after a certain speed. Designed to deliver total safety, the car features an array of innovative passive and active safety techniques. In electric mode, the car is completely silent and its arrival at night is signalled by front laser projection of messages and images on the road.
The central driving position ensures maximum visibility, while the cockpit that “envelops” the two passengers, covered by a teardrop windscreen, acts as a protective shield, he added. Projectors in the headlamps allow the car to avoid bumps and rough patches on roads.
A blue wing-like structure, with aluminium blades beneath it, lends to the vehicle a dynamic look. “It has a beast-like black rear wrapped in the blue wings. The aluminum blades beneath the wings with cameras and indicator lights, tail lights with the aluminum structure in the centre and the exhaust make this car one of the most aggressive rears for a car,” added another team member. The designers believe the car pays homage to Italian styling with additional international flavours.
The group has been working on the design since October, beginning with 3D modelling. The full-scale resin and clay-based model was ready by March, with some parts fabricated through 3D printing as well. Quattroruote sponsored the entire project, which cost nearly 2 million euros.
There is no engine, however. “Since we are design students, our project only looks at the car design, whereas the engine will be added later. As of now, the design of our car has got rave reviews and we couldn’t have asked for more,” Sadwelkar signed off, adding that the eleven planned to work together for a couple of years.
2 million Amount in euros it took the team of 11 designers to make SYRMA
>> Three staggered front seats, with the driver in the centre to ensure maximum visibility
>> Cockpit enveloping two side passengers is covered by teardrop windscreen, which acts as a protective shield
>> Hybrid propulsion system with V6 twin turbo 4-litre engine, and an electric engine in the rear that together deliver 900 HP
>> Silent in electric mode; laser projection of images on road signal its arrival
>> Wing-like structure for dynamic look
>> Aluminium blades beneath wings with cameras, tail lights and indicators
>> Projectors in headlamps to avoid rough patches of road and bumps