Local student wins car design contest

February 16, 2010 6:04:09 PM PST
We've seen lots of small cars marketed as 'green' and energy efficient, but there's a new one, designed by a Triangle college student, that could compete someday with the Scions, Fits and Smart Fortwos of the world.

"This car is going to be part of a new trend of automobiles that will be coming out, because automobiles are getting smaller and smaller," explained Sean Coleman.

Coleman's design came out on top in a worldwide contest for green, eco-friendly car ideas sponsored by Shell and Autodesk called the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas (SEMA) Urban Concept Car Competition.

The competition was fierce among online idea people

"Yeah, the pool to draw from was over a million users, users on the actual Autodesk educators site," said Coleman.

Autodesk and Shell Oil liked his design best.

Coleman's design is a small city runabout.

"Designed for, not highway use, but getting to work in the city, making a small run to the grocery store. I guess it's the moped of the car world," he said.

Coleman's road to success began in the Bull City. He's a graduate of Durham's School of the Arts where his artistic ability drove him to sculpture.

"Doing things 3-D., modeling by hand, clay, wire, paper - just different mediums," he explained.

From those expressions, to now industrial designs, Coleman's in the driver's seat for a promising career.

His car's not just a series of online images. Soon, influential people will see, touch, and even sit inside a real life version.

"It'll be built and drivable, and displayed," said Coleman.

That'll be next month in Houston. Coleman hopes he can make it there to see, touch and sit inside his idea.

You can see Colman's design here.

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