When considering Italian design boutique concepts, you have to suspend your disbelief and any reality-based concerns in order to see the true purpose of the designs.
In many ways, ItalDesign concepts are like the ‘haute couture’ of the car world, versus the ready-to-wear from mainstream manufacturer concepts.
This GEA concept is an interesting look to the future of automated limousines tech, design and user experience.
Sharing some of the insights launched on the Mercedes-Benz F015 concept, the GEA also has exterior lamps that shift to blue front and rear when the vehicle is being driven by computer.
Sidebar: This is a brilliant insight — you really should let other drivers know that the car is on autopilot. We have felt silly in highway traffic running adaptive cruise-control and its constant braking. For the cars behind you, it just looks like the car is being driven extremely poorly.
But where the F015 looks to 2025 for its brutal but ultramodern layout and exterior design forms, the GEA concept is more classically beautiful. You can imagine many of these details on a 2017 Maserati Quattroporte, for example. The turbine wheels are particularly cool because this type of wheel cannot usually be mass-produced.
The overall sedan shape is also firmly in 7 series and S-Class territory. The clean nose and tail are defined by body-color surfaces throughout, but lighting in thin LED horizontal lines at the edge of the hood and edge of the trunk.
Spider-like LED accents then flow below these sharp and thin lamps. These are the ones that flip to blue when on autopilot.
In profile, a clean and unruffled style is the name of the game. Totally uninterrupted doors and side surfaces are pure and stylish. The design focuses mostly on the huge front and rear fender strakes. These outline and emphasize the premium luxury limo goal of the car very nicely, if a bit generically.
The glasshouse is a highlight for completely blacking out all the glass with dark tints, matching black pillars all around, and a black glass roof. This privacy-focused aesthetic is at once very slippery in a wind tunnel, very stylish in dense city traffic, and a chic nod to the car’s high-fashion roots.
2015 ItalDesign Giugiaro GEA Concept
ITALDESIGN GIUGIARO PRESENTS GEA:
THE FUTURE OF LUXURY MOBILITY
Italdesign Giugiaro’s new concept car, GEA is a study on the luxury car for the near future;
Wolfgang Egger, Head of Styling Area of Italdesign Giugiaro: “GEA is not simply a car, we wanted to give shape to our vision of luxury mobility for the future”;
The focus shifts from the driver to the passengers in the rear seats;
Three different settings transform the passenger compartment: business, wellness and dream.
AT A GLANCE
GEA is Italdesign Giugiaro’s vision for the future of luxury mobility. In the future, the real luxury will be time
Based on “Piloted Driving” technology: The focus shifts from the driver to the rear passengers
Interactive and multi-functional passenger compartment: choice between business, wellness and dream modes
Remote wireless operated of 90° book-type doors, virtual red carpet
In the Piloted Driving function the glass darkens to match the color of the car body
The LED light clusters and laser lights become a communication tool between the interior and the exterior and change color depending on the selected driving mode
Induction battery recharging
GEA was designed, engineered and built at the Italdesign Giugiaro headquarters in Moncalieri
EMBARGO: 2 MARCH 2015 at 8 pm
Geneva, 2 March 2015
For the 85th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show, Italdesign Giugiaro presents the world début of GEA, the future of luxury mobility.
GEA’s vision is based on the “Piloted Driving” technology outlook for the future: technological advancement, which allows cars to drive increasingly autonomously, will call in the future for a new idea of automobile. The conceptual center of gravity shifts ideally from the driver’s seat, around which the car’s architectural and ergonomic philosophy is usually developed, to the passengers in the rear seats. Once the car drives autonomously through city traffic, on the motorway and in all those situations when driving is simply not a pleasure, it allows the occupants to focus on other tasks or interests.
“In the near future, the real luxury will be time,” comments Wolfgang Egger, Head of Styling Area of Italdesign Giugiaro. “When designing GEA we thought of the businessmen and businesswomen of tomorrow: the time spent travelling will become productive even in a car. With the three internal setting configurations, which can be selected on the control sphere situated between the two front seats, the car can turn into a travelling office, a wellness or a dream area. This is our vision of luxury mobility for the future”.
GEA doesn’t sacrifice sports performance levels, guaranteed by a power train which, thanks to the four electric motors fitted on the differentials, develops 570 kW of power and affords a top speed of 250 km/h.. With its generous proportions – 5.37 meters long, a wheelbase of 3.33 meters, 1.98 m wide and 1.46 meters high – GEA joins the luxury saloon segment.
GEA was designed, engineered and built at the Italdesign Giugiaro headquarters in Moncalieri.
EXTERIOR: ALL-ITALIAN STYLE AND FLAIR
The sinuous lines, and dynamic surfaces, the painstaking care for details and the superior quality of the materials used continue the Italian tradition of car design, which pays particular attention to the proper proportions of the car body and to enhancing the value of details: GEA is a stylish saloon with a sporty twist.
The sporting soul of GEA is emphasized by the taut surfaces and the generous muscular wheel arches, which underscore their majestic dimensions. The materials used for the chassis and body, i.e. aluminum, carbon fiber and magnesium, guarantee a weight of just over 2,000 kg.
The technological innovation of the interior is also reflected on the exterior of the passenger compartment, in a continuous flow of information from the inside out. Indeed, the piloted driving technology allows a radical new car concept and affects the styling directly: when GEA is in driverless mode, the side windows are polarized and tinted to match the car body, painted Obsidian Blue, achieved with three coats applied between the fine pearl black and the deep xirallic blue. A slim chrome molding surrounds the glass surfaces, emphasizing the sophisticated and discreet elegance of the car. A second chrome element runs along the perimeter of the car body, enhancing the front bumper, door sills and the rear bumper.
The generous proportions of GEA are balanced by a 3.33 meter wheelbase and by the 26” wheels, which streamline and lighten the car. The wheel rims are in aluminum, milled from a solid block in a pattern with 60 spokes. The different treatment of the surface of each spoke, with diamond finish on the outside and dulled to opaque on the inside, also makes the wheel rims precious elements of extreme stylistic appeal. In the middle, the large red G conceals the single nut that connects the wheels to the hubs.
LIGHT CLUSTERS, THE NEW DESIGN FRONTIER
“For some years now, light clusters – thanks to new technologies – have shed their sole purpose of serving to become a distinguishing stylistic feature,” continues Wolfgang Egger, “and they are further cause for creative stimulus for us designers. With GEA we went further still: in this case, they become a communication tool between the interior and the exterior. The LEDs change color according to the driving mode selected: white in normal configuration and blue with piloted driving.”
The front and rear lighting system is based on Audi laserlight and LED technology. The red G which has distinguished all Italdesign Giugiaro concept cars since 2007, set in the middle of the rear, is illuminated and contains the camera which serves as both a rear-view mirror and a parking assistant.
WIRELESS OPENING AND VIRTUAL RED CARPET
In this vision of the luxury mobility of the future, even getting into the car takes on a brand new connotation. Thanks to the book-type doors, to the absence of a B-pillar and to the virtual red carpet projected onto the ground by the LED inserted in the door sill, passengers gain easy access to the inside of the GEA’s lounge.
ONE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT, THREE SETTINGS
The conceptual center of gravity around which GEA has been developed has shifted to the rear seats. This is where the real passenger compartment control center is: a sphere to fit with the LG G-Flex. Indeed, the smartphone has been installed with an app, developed in conjunction with the Korean manufacturer, that makes it possible to interact with all the vehicle functions, from the choice of the three different settings to more typical adjustments (seats, climate control, door opening, infotainment control).
When business mode is selected, GEA turns into a genuine travelling office. The LEDs in the door panels project a white light which, according to the principles of chromotherapy, aids concentration and productivity. Two transparent LED screens measuring 19” each come down from the roof opposite the rear seats and the passenger can choose the information to project onto them. The dashboard graphics change and create a single setting to match the background of the two screens.
The front passenger seat can swivel 180° to face opposite the direction of travel, facilitating dialogue among all passengers; alternatively, the seat back can be folded down fully onto the seat to turn it into a practical counter top.
The wellness mode, developed in conjunction with Technogym, is ideal during long journeys because it allows the passenger to perform isometric exercises, which are ideal to warm up the muscles. In this case, the LEDs in the panel turn an amber color, for a warmer and more relaxing ambiance.
The rear seats feature two aluminum handles which, on pressing a sensor, come out of the tray to be used for exercises on the upper body. For the lower limbs, the floor has been fitted with two boards, also made by Technogym, which can be raised using the controls for use in step exercises. A tutorial video with the Technogym exercise programs appears on the monitors to guide the user.
There is also a small refrigerator compartment between the two seats which can be used for cold drinks and juices. At the top, a small drawer contains cosmetics and a perfumed pouch for aromatherapy.
Dream mode is dedicated to total relaxation. The LEDs project a relaxing blue light, the windows darken and relaxing pictures of galaxies and starry skies appear on the monitors and on the front dashboard. Two comfortable footrests can be extended out from the seats and the right-hand rear seat can extend fully to form a real bed joining up with the front seat, swiveled to face opposite the direction of travel but with the seat back up, to reproduce the typical environment found when flying first class.
ITALIAN MANUFACTURING AND FINE MATERIALS: WELCOMING HIGH-TECH INTERIOR
The setting is split into two separate areas, also in terms of colors: the driver’s area and the passenger area.
Inside, the painstaking care for details, the attention to the materials used and the creation of various atmospheres are key concepts which have led the designers to create a precious and welcoming setting in which to abandon oneself entirely. The neutral colors of the materials used – woven parchment-leather, painted lacquer, smooth opalescent parchment-leather and soft shiny silk – not stained but instead retained in their natural coloring, create a delicate and precious ton sur ton effect. The emotional theme of the surfaces is “writeability”, the nabuck leather and the silk carpet afford two-tone tactile effects which simply ooze luxury and wealth.
The door panels are upholstered in parchment-leather and back-lit with an LED system. The material is used on the entire panel but the different finish on the upper – hand-woven according to great Italian manufacturing tradition – and the lower – smooth – section livens up the generous surface. The floor is covered with a silk carpet, also hand-made, which gives the feeling of being inside an exclusive setting. The ceiling light and the speakers are on the other hand made of micro-perforated stainless steel.
A thin pattern of optic fibers runs along the pillars and the side rails, to lighten the perception of the architecture thanks to fine diffused lighting.
The cluster placed opposite the driver is completely digital. A 12” screen displays, using a purpose-designed graphic interface, all the information useful for driving and controlling the vehicle (speed, engine revs, navigation, battery charge level, residual range, etc.) and on either side two 3.5” screens have been fitted vertically, which project the pictures from the side cameras. When maneuvering, the central monitor projects the pictures from the rear camera instead.
The cluster also features six touch controls on either side, three facing the driver and three hidden away from view yet easy to reach even when driving, which are necessary to turn on the lights, to use the direction indicators, the windscreen wipers… Three classic buttons are instead inserted on the underside of the steering wheel to be used to enable or disable the car, to select the speeds and to select the piloted driving function.
The dashboard has been fitted with a 3-D holographic screen – an evolution of the one presented last year on board the Giugiaro Clipper – which runs along the perimeter of the width projecting pictures and graphics to match the selected setting mode.
In the seat tray, on the right, there is a compartment to house the LG G-Flex smartphone on which the dedicated car apps have been installed. Once connection between the device and the car has been established, the apps are sent to the central cluster monitor whereas only the controls to adjust the seat remain on the phone’s touch screen.
The entire driving system is controlled electronically and it is designed to make the controls totally intuitive. With a view to achieving superior ergonomics, the steering wheel, which has been minimized to almost a control stick here, only turns 2°: the potentiometer inside it assesses the force exerted by the driver on it and acts accordingly on the front wheels: the greater the force, the greater the steering angle. Similarly, the pedal unit comprises two fixed pads: the sensors inside the accelerator and brake detect the pressure exerted and operate accordingly by distributing more or less power and braking power.
The architecture of GEA develops around a platform devised specifically with a new layout capable of incorporating the 375-litre batteries that power the four electric motors, of 142 kW each, housed on the differentials.
The power train develops 570 kW and reaches a top speed of 250 km/h. The recharging system is induction, which is a solution that dispenses with the need for a side flap for the electric socket, thereby guaranteeing continuity in the smooth silhouette of the car body.
Under collaboration with Italdesign Giugiaro (IDG), LG has supplied 12.3-inch full HD IPS display for the instrument cluster and the information displays located at the center and on the passenger side. 6-inch HD curved plastic OLED (P-OLED) is introduced to the front/rear console of the concept car. From the outer view, LG’s surface illumination LED technology decorates the tail lamp of the car and three rear cameras are buried to replace conventional mirrors. Those cameras can be seen only when operational.
LG is also exhibiting the brand new smart watch. It is a genuine device that you wear like a watch. It features a full circle display delivering stunning images with superb clarity. It allows users to get feeds and information from the smartphones simply right onto their wrists. The LG’s Smart watches have proven popular for their classy looks blurring the lines between traditional watch design and modern smart watch functions.
The roots of Italdesign Giugiaro go back to February 1968 when Giorgetto Giugiaro set up a design studio that represented an innovative formula for the car industry: a firm set up to act as a service company, with the aim of delivering creativity, engineering, construction of pre-series prototypes, production start-up assistance and all the support required to put a new product into production. Italdesign Giugiaro has been a part of the Volkswagen Group since 2010.
Since 1968, some 200 car models have been created that have generated 50 million standard production units produced by leading international car manufacturers.
Further information is available on the website www.italdesign.it
295/25 R 26
295/25 R 26
(2 front 2 rear)
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.