With a super sleek, sporty exterior, sat nav and MP3 player, the new Loremo was a massive success at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. However, the beauty of this ultra-innovative prototype is not just skin deep; sustainability has driven the design concept of the car which is tipped to start an automotive revolution.
Weighing in at just 450kg, the exterior of the Loremo is not made of steel but recyclable plastic. The prin-
ciple behind the car is definitely ‘less is more’, and the name Loremo — Low Resistance Mobile — is intended
to push home the message of streamlining and economy.
The aerodynamic shape of the car is, according to the manufacturer, achieved from the “non-load-bearing, self- supporting, thermoplastic body panels”. This mat-erial is said to have a number of advantages: it is lightweight, weatherproof, scratch-resistant and economical. It substitutes classic paint with a thin film in the colour of the car during the manufacturing process, thereby achieving a high-quality, paint-like surface without actually using environment-damaging paints.
Uli Sommer, an engineer who had
designed parts for a firm that supplied BMW and Mercedes; his former boss Stefan Ruetz; and Gerhard Heilmaier. Ruetz still runs his own engineering company, but both Sommer and Heilmaier now work
full time on the project and Heilmaier has invested 1m into the scheme.
In a market that is dominated by aspirational, luxury brands, ‘green’ cars have looked increasingly incongruous, with the hybrids failing to make any significant dent and, despite rising fuel prices, cars have continued to become heavier in the name of performance and safety.
This is the beauty of the Loremo — there has been no compromise on design in the pursuit of efficiency.
Fuel consumption is a tiny 157mpg (1.5 litres for 100km). This means the car can travel from Munich to Rome — over 800 miles — on only one 20-litre (five gallon) tank of fuel. The design challenges the need for 1.5 tonnes of steel to get your average 80kg person from A to B.
Working on the principle of lightness instead of mass, the Loremo could never be accused of being overpackaged, with streamlining favoured over fripperies. So, when the car does come to the end of its useful life and heads for recycling and recovery, there is a very limited range of components that have to be dealt with.
The interior has done away with the usual unnecessary fittings and the two-ply plastic construction does not need additional finishing. The windows are also made of plastic, not glass.
The car is entered from the front, with the entire hood, including the windscreen, tipped forwards. The vertically opening tailgate provides access to the back seats. The Loremo LS can be equipped with an air-conditioning system, an on-board PC with navigation system, an MP3 player and a driver information system.
“At the moment the Loremo LS is primarily an energy- saving, minimalistic body concept,” says Heilmaier. “It is an innovation which leaves room for continual development and many variations in its design and engine. It will certainly influence the automobile future.”
But the car still is the future and won’t be available until 2009, but this will give you plenty of time to st