Mazda goes with the flow

Mazda’s US design team has launched a concept car at this month’s Los Angeles International Auto Show that attempts to capture ‘the emotion of motion’.

The vehicle, called Nagare is the result of the vehicle maker’s project to invent a novel means of registering motion in vehicles whether they are moving or still.

Nagare, which is Japanese for ‘flow’, has the body of a sports car with a sleek and aerodynamically-efficient shape. Its wheels are placed at the far corners and the four-seat interior is accessed by two double-length doors that hinge forward and upwards.

The driver is centrally located for optimum visibility, while Nagare’s rear compartment is a wrap-around lounge offering space for three passengers. The central front seat and expansive door opening are said to facilitate easy entry to the interior.

Franz von Holzhausen, director of design for Mazda north American operations, explained the research that went in to capturing motion in the design of a car: ‘We began by studying motion and the effect it has on natural surroundings — how wind shapes sand in the desert, how water moves across the ocean floor and the look of lava flowing down a mountainside.

‘Natural motion registers an impression and that’s what we hoped to capture with the new Nagare design language.’

The car’s designers believe it could conceivably be powered by a hydrogen-fuelled rotary engine, noting that Mazda’s work on this technology is among the world’s most advanced, with hydrogen/gasoline-fuelled rotaries powering RX-8s now in service in Japan.

Holzhausen said he thinks Mazda has set a standard for car designs of the future.

‘We’re looking well down the road with Nagare,’ he said. ‘We want to suggest where Mazda design will be in 2020. To do that, we redefined basic proportions and the idea of driving, without losing the emotional involvement.’