Vibe by Vruttant Phatak, India

2013: Half! Lightweight with Passion.



Vruttant Phatak — learning about cars and how they function was a passion ignited after first hearing the sound of an engine. This curiosity pointed him to read and watch informative programs about cars at an early age. He started sketching vehicles and making LEGO models based on those sketches. This passion and curiosity helped him to ask the question “why” to conventional automotive systems and “why not” to new ideas.

With very Limited Transportation Design opportunities in India, Phatak had to choose a graduation in Mechanical Engineering (2005-2009). After his graduation, he started developing his design skills with software and sketching, watching tutorials on the internet (2009-2010). He chose a one-year masters course from Coventry University in Design, which helped him in Design research and further freeform surface modeling tools (2010-2011). He started designing for competitions, applying logical solutions and current technologies.

He is currently looking for permanent jobs or internships in Transportation Design and, of course, improving his skills.


The new generation of people and families (target audience age: 25-40) has grown up in the energy and economy crisis. This class of audiences considers style and looks as an asset but with a sense of responsibility to the green revolution.

The Vibe gives a versatile experience to the audience of being a single unit operational in different environments (urban and off road) and class (city, open top and beach). Easily maneuverable in city traffic and parking owing to four wheel steering with modular wheels which can be maintained and replaced easily. This combined with a clean propulsion system reduces localized pollution.

Considering the focus of lightweight construction, the vibe blends green (bamboo), easy to produce and machine materials with modern polymers (polyurethane) for its space frame and body. Chinese and Indian bamboo has tensile strengths comparable to steel. The cross section of the frame members is triangular, the most stable according to structural engineering. The body is a three layered skin (bamboo and silicon) wrapped tightly around the space frame resulting in a safe lightweight construction.

The above coupled with logical, innovative solutions for the wheels, steering, maneuverability and suspension makes the vibe a hub of design and practicality.

Propulsion and Power – The Vibe set to be launched in 2025 utilizes simple BEV technology which is expected to overcome the current issues like range anxiety and packaging. Flat Li-ion batteries in the floor and hub-less electric motors in each wheel ensure maximum room for the passengers. The load of the modular wheel steering operation is shared by piezo electric generators in each of the ‘soles’ of the modules. The electric power for the internal instruments is shared by a solar generator.

Wheels – The wheel of the Vibe is an integration of suspension, steering and wheel dynamics. Being modular in construction there is no need for physical turning of the wheel around an axis for steering. Each module of the wheel translates outward and inward with the help of magnetic actuators depending on the desired direction of steering. The combination of this rotary and translation movement helps the Vibe to maneuver in two modes (normal and parking) as shown. The modules can also arrange themselves for a wider treaded tire for off road purposes. The ‘feet’ of the modules are made up of carbon fiber composites used in athletes’ prosthetics.