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4 innovative transportation designs

Posting in Transportation
The Design Museum in London has a great new list of some of the best designs from the past year. The museum nominated 76 items in categories ranging from architecture to digital to fashion.

But the category that caught my eye was transportation. It's been a good year for innovative transportation design, from the incredible Hyperloop design to the humble hubcap-like device that turns any bike into an e-bike to the a pop-up camper conversion tech for Honda Elements and similar vehicles. None of my favorites made the Design Museum list, but the list gave me a few new favorites. 

Here are the museum's four nominees in the transportation category:

1. Obree electric bike -- design by A2B


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China accounts for the large majority of e-bike sales. But maybe the Obree electric bike's innovative design can sway the rest of the world. The Design Museum was specifically impressed with the "engineering innovation" that went into the bike, from a regenerative braking system to a high-torque motor to assist riders on hilly terrain. The bike can reach a speed of 15.5 miles per hour (more with pedal assist) and has an approximate range of 62 miles.

2. IFmove bicycle -- design by Section Zero

A folding bicycle. Again, the idea here isn't new. You can find numerous folding bikes on the market. What sets the 9-speed, 25-pound IFmove bike apart is a smarter design that allows riders to unfold the bike in seconds and easily wheel it around when it isn't in use. Here's a look at how it works:
 
 
3. Me.We concept car -- design by Toyota ED2 & Massaud   
 
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 The Me.We concept car reimagines what a sustainable car looks like. Of course, it runs on electricity. But it also has removable body panels and uses materials, like aluminum, polypropylene, and bamboo, to create a car that's 20 percent lighter than traditional B-segment cars with steel bodies. Much of that material is also 100 percent recyclable. And in a quest to embody "the transition from the culture of ‘more’ to the culture of ‘better,’" as Toyota puts it, the car comes with no extras. 

4. Single seat aircraft -- design by e-Go  
 
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This single-person airplane not only looks great, but it's also extremely light (253 pounds when empty), built with ultra-light carbon fiber and wings with foam cores wrapped in carbon fiber. And, at least in the United Kingdom, extremely cheap to operate. According to e-Go, it can use fuel from any "local garage." Plus, it requires "no certification or aircraft license fees." Here's the plane in action:

 
 
Bonus: There were two great designs related to transportation, but not in the transportation category. 
  • Citymapper: The aim of this app is to simplify getting around in tough-to-navigate cities. Marketed as the "ultimate transportation app," the app gives you a rundown of all your options to get from place to place, the differences of each option, as well as the costs. 
  • Plume mudguard: A simple, sleek mudguard to keep the backs of bike riders clean on muddy, rainy days. The mudguard can be recoiled when it's not needed. 
The museum will run an exhibition of all the designs beginning next month. The best design in each category will be chosen later this year, along with one "design of the year."

See all the nominees for the museum's design of the year here.  

Photos: A2BToyota; e-Go/Facebook

— By on February 18, 2014, 9:52 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure