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Motive previews the Bison composite pickup design

News International-French

14 Feb 2012

The Motive pickup, internally named the Bison, is a showcase of what a global market, highly efficient pickup can look like. This concept is a shell designed to showcase Motive's ability to develop an inspiring pickup design to work with the next and best industry powertrains, renewable fuels, emerging materials and technologies.

Starting with a ground up design the engineering involved to package the batteries and powertrain aren't compromised by any pre-developed chassis.

Not only is the general public buying pickups, but the utility and practicality for use in commercial, and municipality applications is ideal and a necessity. With the impending rise in gas prices and the increasing sustainable mindset of the consumer it's inevitable that OEM's will be releasing more efficient pickups in the form of BEV's, hybrids and efficient turbo gas / diesels. Pike Research believes the global market for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electrics vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) will grow at 92% in 2012, with total sales surpassing 19,000.

The Bison is targeting the compact to mid-sized light truck class like the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and even the Honda Ridgeline. The redesigned 2013 Ford Ranger will be sold globally, but won't be sold on our shores. For a brief time there is a gap left from the lack of a Ranger model in North America. The Bison fills this niche well in North America and abroad going slightly upscale with similar exterior dimensions to the outgoing Ranger, but much more cargo space and packaging for advanced powertrains and fuel systems.

The overall design character is sporty and assertive communicated by its wide front end graphic elements and aggressive wheel arches. The geometrical and angular form language along with wedge profiles throughout evolves the typical square pickup form into something much more modern and provocative. The Bison is targeting the 25-35 year old consumer, or the progressive company requiring utility fleet vehicles who want to make a statement. The stance is important to convey stability and power.


Charcoal colored polymer bumpers are durable and designed to deal with the tough fleet / commercial use in the field. Side step panels are incorporated into the rockers. The panel break up along the bumpers and rocker panels help to visually lighten the truck along with the rising cutout feature in the rocker. This rise in the rocker is a common design feature coming from Motives design ethos influenced by the waistlines of athletic animals like a horse or grey hound. It helps to visually lighten the body, but accentuate the 'chest' or engine bay area of the vehicle.

From the rear, more of the geometrical and angular treatment can be found. Along the bumper 2 square reflectors bookend the design playing up the width. Just below the bumper are 2 wide exhaust ports. For the EV example shown these are simply closed with aluminum trim pieces which still work as a nice rear end detail.

There are many benefits to a composite bodied pickup. The first being it's lightweight. Utilizing carbon fibre can see a weight reduction over steel of 50% where as utilizing fiberglass can see a weight reduction of approximately 30%. A second major benefit with the composite bodied vehicles is the ability to have a profitable low to medium production run model of anywhere between 500 to 25,000 vehicles. The 100,000 + production run model is in many ways becoming difficult to manage as OEM's are struggling to meet the demands of the constantly developing technology and erratic market trends.


One of the largest differences in these models is in the tooling investment required for stamped steel VS composite. In many cases the costs for composite tooling can be a fraction of the cost of similar stamped steel tooling. This allows an OEM to manufacture a vehicle at a much lower production run and still make a profit.

Being located in the heart of Alberta, Motive felt it was important to present the Bison pickup concept as an answer to the inefficient heavy mid-sized pickups we see on the roads today. The Bison is a great example of what a modern premium truck can be and an excellent blueprint for an OEM to consider and put their personal touch on.

About Motive

Motive is an elite transportation design firm specializing in advanced design and advanced material manufacturing application. Over the past 15 years the Motive team has worked on more than 120 vehicle programs including 10 full electric vehicle programs. The company's unique blend of design capabilities and industry experience has allowed Motive to create processes which accelerate project cycles, reduce cost and decrease time to market. Motive works with existing car companies and manufacturing partners worldwide to architect advanced vehicles from concept through production.


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