Volkswagen EGon Is A Rolling Electric Car Circuit Sculpture

Over the past few decades of evolution, cars have grown to incorporate a mind-boggling number of electric components. From parking distance sensors, to the convenience of power locks and windows, to in-car entertainment systems rivaling home theaters. Normally this interconnected system’s complexity is hidden between exterior sheet metal and interior plastic trim, but a group of students of Volkswagen’s vocational training program decided to show off their internal beauty by building the Volkswagen eGon exhibit.

Seeing a super minimalist Volkswagen electric Golf on the move (short Twitter video embedded below) we are immediately reminded of circuit sculptures. We saw some great projects in our circuit sculpture contest, but the eGon shows what can be done with the resources of a Volkswagen training center. Parts are bolted to the car’s original structure where possible, the rest were held in their representative positions by thin metal tube frames. At this scale, they look just like the brass rods used in small circuit sculptures! Certain component enclosures were replaced with transparent pieces, or had a window cut into them for visibility.

This exhibit was built for IdeenExpo, an event to expose students to science and technology. Showing them what’s under the cover in this “see-through car” with internal components tagged with QR codes pointing them to additional information. The number of electronic modules inside a car is only going to continue rising with the coming wave of electric and/or self-driving cars. Even if the timing of their arrival is debatable, we know we’ll need brain power helping to answer questions we don’t even know to ask yet. The eGon is doing a great job attracting attention and inviting bright young minds to participate.

19 thoughts on “Volkswagen EGon Is A Rolling Electric Car Circuit Sculpture

  1. Am I the only one who finds electric windows an anti-feature? A classic case of controlling an analog thing (window position) with a badly-implemented digital control (up/down switch) resulting in awkward operation. Ok I admit it is occasionally useful when your passenger has got out leaving their window open but I much more frequently just want to open my window a little bit more or less. It really is not difficult to operate a winder, and no danger of “tired” window motors a few years down the line, which aleays seems to happen.

    Perhaps my ideal would be a combination system where you could use either, a bit like motorised music system volume controls, but they don’t seem to be available on any car I’ve seen.

    1. Not at all, I hear that sentiment expressed a great deal. I was surprised as a child scrapping a rwd nissan car when I found the window winder was made from a foot long sheet metal cog segment, no wires or pulleys to break. I haven’t seen anything as reliable since. The disadvantage is that every part on a mechanical device is custom.

      1. On a 1970s Chevy Nova it was something similar but with a scissor lift.
        While on a 2000s Corvette the regulator is a motor driven cable on a set of plastic pulleys
        Guess which one I never had to replace and which one I had to replace twice.

    2. I’ve never had any problem with electric windows, they work fine for me and I’ve never found myself not being able to open the window how I would like it opened. Admittedly they’re not much of a time/effort saver or safety feature, but they are nice to have.

    3. Fully agreed.

      The same goes for most motor-powered “up-down” devices. Our silk screen in the living room was a motored one. That got replaced within two weeks by a straight mechanical one, for a simple reason: We don’t want for the motor to finally get it done, we want to watch movies.
      In the car: Motor driven trunk lids? It takes AGES until it’s open or closed, as if people didn’t use cars to get from a to b FASTER, only then to wait (at b or a) for the rest of the day for the trunk to open or close. Windows … are not exactly science, you really do not need to push a button to open or close a window, do you.Besides, if you want to open the window WHILE DRIVING, doing it mechanically is safer, because you get a feeling for how far it has moved – you never get that from a BUTTON.

      Meh. I want my pony rig back Things were easier when they weren’t motorized.

      (only partially kidding there)

    4. My car’s got fine adjustable intermittent wiper intervals but still the same problem you’ve mentioned with windows.

      I can only assume it’s because designers expect customers to mainly order the car with the lodasaemone fully automatic A/C package.

      Seems like that’s the same reason sunroofs are less common nowadays (besides crash ratings)

      1. On the contrary, sun/moon roofs are more common as of recently thanks to them being panoramic. The funny part is, I don’t use it. It just happened to be included in the package I bought. I like AC, not hot and humid air blowing crap in my car all over the place. For those times I’m feeling spunky though, they can be nice.

      2. My car (a very old Ford Fiesta) has the most brilliant intermittent wiper control ever. You simply turn it on briefly, it wipes once, then you turn it on again and this time leave the lever on the interment setting, it will keep repeating the interval you “taught” it.

          1. I got quickly used to that feature, so much that when I recently drove a friend’s car without it, I found that I was waiting far longer that I should have to activate the wipers, and at that point I was annoyed with the auto-wiper feature missing.

  2. It’s unique, but driving from Britain to Europe means driving on the “wrong” side of the road and approaching toll booths and parking ticket machines built for the driver being on the other side of the car, electric windows are handy for that,

    No reason for them to be any less reliable than manual either, in fact a more steady and controlled torque is likely easier to deal with.

  3. Funny, did not know that beast (we have an e-Golf as a second car for over a year). I wonder if the “eGon” is safe to drive – usually every single part of a modern car’s integrated body is needed for stability and safety.

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