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There’s no doubting that the annual Los Angeles Design Challenge – which runs in conjuction with the LA show – comes up with some really novel futuristic vehicle designs, and this year has been no different. The 2010 winner happens to be two designs – the end result was that the judges decided both General Motors Advanced Design California’s Cadillac Aera entry and Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design’s Smart 454 WWT were even stevens for novelty and ingenuity.

The theme for the challenge this year was to envision an efficient, light-weight, four passenger vehicle that’s stylish, drives well and is comfortable and safe, while not exceeding 1,000 lbs (454 kg) – the Volvo Air Motion was one of the entries this year.

A bit about the winsome twosome, with the Smart 454 WWt having first dibs. The concept gets its number from the weight in kilograms, and the WWT stands for Weight Watch Technologies, for the “company” that has come up with the design. Now, if the name suggests a playful take on things, well, it all is, every last bit of it.

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The Smart 454 WWT is manufactured by incredibly high-tech robots that look as friendly and cuddly as grandmothers – the Tridion-frame chassis is knit by WWT’s Smart Granny Robots (otherwise know as SGRs) out of carbon fibre, and the knitting can create complex shapes and forms, enabling the geometry to be optimised in strength and weight.

Different materials are used for each individual part, so every piece of the car has its own specific properties and look, and it’s all pretty precise – only the exact amount of material necessary is used, for an optimal balance between weight and function (Colin Chapman would undoubtedly have been proud).

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Material-wise, the windows, fenders and bumpers are all made of recyclable plastics with ingrained colors, and the roof is made up of a thin, but highly durable recycled textile that comes with different prints and weavings. The modular “clip-on” construction principal allows easy and endless customising – the doors, roof, engine and drive-train are very easy to remove or exchange, allowing for perfect functionality, looks, fun and the best tuning for any occasion.

The 454 WWT features lightweight carbon fibre wheels with integrated suspension, and proprietary SGR technology allows for truly unique looking rims, not to mention the lightest ones too. It’s powered by two 15 kW electric engines, with juice provided by an exchangeable Li-Ion battery pack, located between the two rear wheels to effect the shortest transfer path possible.

Gallery after the jump.

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