Concept Car: Mazda Deep Orange 3

Front 3/4 view of Mazda Deep Orange 3
Photos courtesy Art Center College of  Design and Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research

Here's a real sneak peek into the future of cars, as viewed by people who are at the very beginning of their careers.

The Mazda Deep Orange 3 is not only a concept vehicle, it's been designed and engineered from the ground up by students: Fredrick Naaman from the Art Center College of Design and a team of automotive engineering students  at Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).

Rear 3/4 view of Mazda Deep Orange 3

Deep Orange 3 uses a unique hybrid powertrain that automatically chooses how many and which wheels to drive (all, rear or front), a load-bearing structure based on innovative sheet-folding technology patented by Industrial Origami, and 3+3 seating  in a sports car architecture.

Side view of Mazda Deep Orange 3

As part of the graduate automotive engineering program at CU-ICAR, students are required to create and manufacture a new vehicle prototype. The concept and design is often developed in partnership with students from the Transportation Design department at Art Center.

"The students had free rein to push the boundaries of conventional design and engineering," said Paul Venhovens, BMW Endowed Chair in automotive systems integration at CU-ICAR.

Stewart Reed, the Chair of Transportation Design at the Art Center College of Design said
"Deep Orange Offers companies an exclusive opportunity to showcase advanced vehicle technologies...for both engineers and designers, it's a rich experience of working directly with industry leaders to develop ideas."

And from Mazda North America's Design Director Derek Jenkins: "Working with fresh creative minds is always rewarding and to see this project at this stage is really impressive and it's exciting for the future."

The prototype chassis for Deep Orange 3 was unveiled at the SEMA show in Las Vegas in 2012. The finished concept vehicle is being unveiled at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.

Grille detail of Mazda Deep Orange 3

Our take?  A strong design, fresh and forward-thinking but one that you could see (in fact, want to see) on the streets.  It is a terrific fit with Mazda's newest product (CX-5, Mazda 6), and moves the needle quite a bit further.