Shaped by the wind
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for Adria products. Adria's home, Slovenia, is a green country whose people value contact with nature. It is one of the European countries with the highest of biodiversities and the cleanest of environments. Just as a view from the mountain tops or the colours of a forest bring a sense of calm, so do the light and scenic views make a stay in Adria's vehicles worthwhile. The Adria development team combined the aesthetic design with the wind principles in a very natural way.
Adria and their design partner, Sito (formerly Gigodesign studio) embraced bold ideas and innovative thinking, combining the best solutions from experts in the science of wind: Slovenian aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel, the first company in the world to certify an electric aircraft, a leader in the aviation industry in terms of alternative propulsion development. Astella represents a technological breakthrough, a pool of combined knowledge and ideas, and the collaboration of very different, seemingly incompatible fields and professions. Inspired by nature, Adria combined the best and most advanced science solutions to create state-of-the-art caravans that cleave the air according to the principle of aviation laws.
Designer Matic Vihtelič explains that the relationship between housing efficiency and mobility is therefore very important for caravan:
“Any caravan is used more time as an accommodation than as an object in transport. With this in mind, the basic concept was to increase the internal volume, so we wanted to give up the wedge-like shape in the front wall and make a caravan with a flat front wall. We wanted to achieve the spaciousness of the interior and add panoramic windows on both, the front and rear side, which would open up the space visually''.
The requirements of safe towing and low fuel consumption had to be considered with this design. ''In proposing a flat wall, we proceeded from the fact that caravans of this size are towed by fairly large cars, i.e. often SUVs, which displace extensive quantities of air, so we assumed that the angle at the front wall was irrelevant. Instead of dealing with the aerodynamics of the caravan on its own, it was necessary to analyse the entire convoy, that is the both car and the trailer''. explains designer Matic Vihtelič.
“The main purpose of improving, firstly, Astella’s aerodynamics was less drag and, as a result, also the lower fuel consumption. A strict condition, of course, was that the solution should not affect the quality of driving, i.e. it had to retain directional stability and therefore the balance at the front and rear of the caravan.”
Pipistrel were eager to collaborate with this ambitious Adria project, tailoring excellent aerodynamics to safe and energy efficient driving without compromising on living comfort. Aerodynamics expert Matej Andrejašič from Pipistrel explains:
“It is true that, in an aircraft, the lift and drag are both important. But when it come to caravans, the lift should be avoided, as should the lateral forces. It is necessary to stream the air flow in a way that will primarily affect that component of the force active in the direction of travel, i.e. the drag. The lift could drastically affect the safety of the vehicle by reducing the grip of the tires.”
Once aeronautical experts used their measurements to pinpoint the exact position and surface of the airflow rectifying elements, the designers had to add the aesthetics.
A newly-emerged and very important challenge was how to achieve the typical Adria design with guiding vanes. Designer Matic Vihtelič explains how they tried to find elements that would be sufficiently integrated and at the same time become part of the new design with other Adria products:
“Together with Adria's engineer Uroš Dvornik, we managed to integrate the guiding vanes into the multifunctional element of the caravan's rim, which also provided a unique silhouette and enhanced the quality of living in the Astella. With the design, we wanted to place
greater emphasis on the side wall rather than the front one. The competition is dedicating extensive efforts to the front and rear walls to make the shape as similar to that of a car as possible. We desired to move away from that approach and make the walls more discrete.”
The Astella was ground-breaking and award-winning caravan and still stands out as the ultimate luxury caravan on the market. The learnings Adria gained from the project, including aerodynamic know-how, have been applied to it's best-selling caravans - Alpina, Adora, Altea.