A vehicle designed to travel across an automated, computer controlled highway grid has won the Los Angeles Auto Show 2009 Design Challenge prize.

The V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) car was Nissan's entry to the competition, in which car designers were asked to envision a car for 2030 that would suit today's generation of cell phones, online communities and webcams. The V2G beat completion from Audi, GM, Honda, Mazda and Toyota to take first prize.

Nissan designed a concept that would be inexpensively purchased like a cell phone, allowing users to purchase access plans from "GRID-mobility providers" to get around the automated US highway network. In a nod to current cellular modifications such as iPhone jail-breaking, Nissan suggested that users may also hack their vehicles to modify them for "off-grid excitement". The winning entry also featured a futuristic exterior made of "carbon nanotube cloth," able to regenerate itself at the end of the product's life.

Many auto shows feature design challenges to stretch the design laboratories of manufacturers and provide an - admittedly far-fetched - insight into the future of the automobile. The North American International Auto Show in January will unveil the winner of the Michelin Challenge Design, this year themed around the concept of "Electrifying!"