Want to know wh at kind of a car college students would design if they had the chance? Now you can.
Deep Orange 3, the third-generation Deep Orange vehicle prototype designed and engineered by automotive engineering students, was unveiled at the 2012 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, with more than 120,000 attendees and 2,000 exhibitors.
Working at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), the students have free rein to push the boundaries of conventional design and engineering. They designed the vehicle in partnership with Mazda North American Operations and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.
Deep Orange 3 features a unique TwinEngine hybrid powertrain that automatically chooses front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive; a load-bearing structure based on innovative sheet-folding technology patented by Industrial Origami; and a groundbreaking 3+3 seating configuration in sports car architecture all packaged in an exterior design created by students at the Art Center College of Design.
Paul Venhovens, BMW Endowed Chair in automotive systems integration, who leads the Deep Orange program, said the latest design not only provides solutions to the efficiency-vs.-sportiness debate, but also delivers driving pleasure, practicality and flexibility in a setting where everyone enjoys the ride. The vehicle accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph, achieving 42 city and 49 highway miles per gallon.
Deep Orange runs the course of two academic years in parallel with Clemson’s two-year master’s program in automotive engineering. The program provides students with experience in financial and market analysis, vehicle design, development, prototyping and production planning, and gives them an opportunity to work with automotive industry partners to develop ideas.
According to Robert Davis, senior vice president of U.S. Operations for Mazda North American Operations and a Clemson alumnus, the experience students gain from Deep Orange makes them very attractive to industry. “These engineers will design and build the cars we drive tomorrow,” he said.