Fracircle by Zhilei Chen, China

2010: Electrifying! Beautiful, Innovative & Radiant.

Drawing on Display at Michelin Challenge Design™


Zhilei Chen, 23, was born and raised in China. He is currently a fourth year student of vehicle engineering at Wuhan University of Technology majoring in Thermal Energy and Power Engineering.

He loves the traditional culture of ancient China and is very passionate about automotive design. He would like to apply the elements of the Chinese culture to automotive design and to design a car which has a Chinese style.

After two years of training as a student journalist, his inspiration and innovation leads him to think that automotive design needs the unique innovative and distinct highlights as well as writing. After he graduates, he wants to pursue a career in automobile and industrial design.


It is no doubt that the invention of the vehicle has promoted the human society to move a big step forward, but we should also take note of that where it is heading. It also brings a heavy social pressure, such as the Energy Crisis, Air Pollution and Noise Pollution to us. People who are living in a busy city feel monotonous and noisy. Their life seems to be lacking of nature’s elegance and refreshing.

Therefore, we urgently need a car and it can not only solve the problem of energy shortages and environmental pollution, but it also will enable us to resume the kind of living space, which is clean and beautiful like in nature.

Based on this positioning, the concept ‘Fracircle’ was developed.

Fracircle is a good example of how architectural framework was boldly applied to automotive design. It uses an independent suspension cockpit whose shape comes from the crystal clear Water drop, which not only gives the impression of fresh, beautiful and being close to nature, but also provides an infinite horizon for passengers.

The cockpit connects the frame with lots of air cushion and it achieves a good damping effect and plays the role of a good buffer when starting-up and braking. The smooth starting and braking improves the comfort and security of driving. Overall, this appearance is exactly the aesthetics of Chinese classical Confucian which emphasizes the characteristics of inner circle and outer sharps, harmony between man and nature.

Another feature of Fracircle is that it can absorb solar energy, wind energy and vibrational energy, which will be uses as its additional power source. The materials of the Suspension cockpit, which contain a metal mesh structure inside, is organic engineering plastics. It can absorb solar energy and then convert it into electrical energy, which is then stored in the batteries.

In addition, because of its special suspension frame structure, it has the ability to absorb wind energy using the High-tech nano-materials when the car is moving. This energy is converted into electrical energy and stored in the battery as its additional power source as is the vibrational energy when the independent suspension cockpit vibrates up and down. All this is in hopes of achieving a good effect of energy-saving and emission reduction.