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Prototypes

The Odysée: A concept car that turns into a personal submarine Add to ...

Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.

The concept

The Odysée is an electric ‘SubCar’ that can transform into a personal submarine. Instead of propellers, it’s equipped with dual oscillating wings on each side for propulsion. The car is based on a Tesla Model S platform, and it would be able to reach a depth of 30 metres.

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The background

Last September, Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased the Lotus-inspired submarine car from the 007 classic The Spy Who Loved Me. Musk plans to turn the fantasy of the movie prop into reality. When I read a CNN article related to his decision, it sparked the idea to create the Odysée submarine car concept. I wanted to use a different system to propel the vehicle, so I decided to integrate a new concept presented to me by an inventor named Maxime Lambert Bolduc, who agreed to work with me on the Odysée.

How it works

The Tesla Model S is a well-built electric car with a good aerodynamic shape, so I decided to use this platform to create the Odysée. In the trunk of the car, an electric motor would be installed to drive both oscillating wings. These wings would be mounted on each side of the rear frame, and they would slide out of the body when the Odyssée is in the water. These wings would then oscillate like a fish tail, and they would propel the vehicle forward (see the Éolo video).

The car would need to be sealed properly, including the need for pressurized rubbers around the doors. The wheels would be equipped with electric covers that deploy downward on each side in order to reduce drag. The Odysée would use ballast tanks and pressurized bladders to control its buoyancy. Horizontal fins would deploy on each side of the ‘SubCar’ to move up or down, and a rudder mounted in the rear would help steer the Odyssée left or right.

What it’s used for

The Odysée could be used to explore the sea and drive home after a dive. One main hurdle will be the battery capacity, because water is much harder to displace than air, so it might be a good option to consider a hybrid fuel cell system. Since not much sun gets through 30 metres of water, I would try to limit the car to this depth, which would also make it less difficult to engineer (of course, 15 metres would be even easier). LED lights could also be added on the side to get a better view of your surroundings.

The design

The Odyssée’s images were created by Jan Metelka, who is based in the Czech Republic. Metelka studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, and also created the images for the FireQuad concept, an ATV designed to operate near fires.

Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles. Bombardier left BRP in 2006 to work on his own ventures, and in March, 2013 he began to create his own concept vehicles and publish them on his website.

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