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Automotive categorybanner Hybrid

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Electric/pedal
Commuting to work and getting a workout at the same time I'm a big fan of the Organic Transit ELF—a pedal electric hybrid that Lloyd believes could replace a car for a lot of people. But every time we write about it, somebody comments that it's simply too expensive and/or it shouldn't be allowed on bike lanes. I can only imagine what people are going to say about Kronfeld Motors' RAHT racer. Here's the basics It's primarily an electric vehicle, but with a pedal function that you can use to get a  workout and/or recharge the battery (a bit!) and/or get a workout. The makers claim it can hit 140 kmh, and once it hits production will be highway legal. It has a range of 190 km city driving, and 115 km at highway speeds. About the pedal aspect. It's likely to add 5-10% in terms of range if you're working hard. The production version will have room for a passenger and/or luggage, and significant improvements in terms of safety. It's currently listed at $24,000, and you can pre-order it with a $500 deposit. Let the fighting in the comments begin Alright, let the fighting in the comments begin. But wait-before we all get into the usual 'rich man's toy' versus 'best idea ever debate, let's remember something: Just because it's not a vehicle that you would drive doesn't mean there isn't a sensible market for it. While it's true that you could now get a 350-km range, four seat electric car for not that much more. And folks have been waiting a long time for their not-dissimilar-looking gas-powered Elios. But this is clearly being marketed to people who enjoy the experience of cycling but need to get places faster and/or like the idea of commuting to work and getting a workout at the same time. And I can see the appeal in that. I, for one, can't imagine myself springing for something like this. I've already established that I can get pretty far, pretty fast on a regular e-bike , and I can go far further than I ever really should have in my used Nissan Leaf. But I do think this would be a blast to ride in. And I can think of people who would totally prefer this over either a motorcycle commute or stooping to the conventionality of a regular car. I wish Kronfeld Motors all the luck in the world. Who knows, with rising gas prices they may not even need it. Now, please be nice in the comments. By: Sami Grover, Treehugger https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation
Commuting to work and getting a workout at the same time I'm a big fan of the Organic Transit ELF—a pedal electric hybrid that Lloyd believes could replace a car for a lot of people. But every time we write about it, somebody comments that it's simply too expensive and/or it shouldn't be allowed on bike lanes. I can only imagine what people are going to say about Kronfeld Motors' RAHT racer. Here's the basics It's primarily an electric vehicle, but with a pedal function that you can use to get a  workout and/or recharge the battery (a bit!) and/or get a workout. The makers claim it can hit 140 kmh, and once it hits production will be highway legal. It has a range of 190 km city driving, and 115 km at highway speeds. About the pedal aspect. It's likely to add 5-10% in terms of range if you're working hard. The production version will have room for a passenger and/or luggage, and significant improvements in terms of safety. It's currently listed at $24,000, and you can pre-order it with a $500 deposit. Let the fighting in the comments begin Alright, let the fighting in the comments begin. But wait-before we all get into the usual 'rich man's toy' versus 'best idea ever debate, let's remember something: Just because it's not a vehicle that you would drive doesn't mean there isn't a sensible market for it. While it's true that you could now get a 350-km range, four seat electric car for not that much more. And folks have been waiting a long time for their not-dissimilar-looking gas-powered Elios. But this is clearly being marketed to people who enjoy the experience of cycling but need to get places faster and/or like the idea of commuting to work and getting a workout at the same time. And I can see the appeal in that. I, for one, can't imagine myself springing for something like this. I've already established that I can get pretty far, pretty fast on a regular e-bike , and I can go far further than I ever really should have in my used Nissan Leaf. But I do think this would be a blast to ride in. And I can think of people who would totally prefer this over either a motorcycle commute or stooping to the conventionality of a regular car. I wish Kronfeld Motors all the luck in the world. Who knows, with rising gas prices they may not even need it. Now, please be nice in the comments. By: Sami Grover, Treehugger https://www.whatsorb.com/category/transportation
Electric/pedal
Electric/pedal 'hybrid' claims highway speeds
First electric circular car
The students from Eindhoven (Netherlands) take a new path and focus on more important matters. Great, those electric cars, but it is not (yet) environmentally conscious. Driving does, it does not produce. However, the TU / ecomotive has started working on a solution, in the form of a circular car. With this we mean the processing of recyclable products in a car. A team of 22 students (from 9 different directions) worked on the new concept and design since June 2017, with which it wants to demonstrate that cars can also contribute to the circular economy. TU Eindhoven already made the world's first bio-based car last year: the Lina. The new car, which was presented last night, was baptized by Noah. The Noah weighs only 350 kilos and is a double city trolley with modular batteries. The range is 240 kilometers, a power of 15 kW brings the vehicle to a top speed of one hundred kilometers per hour. This successor to Lina must be the world's first circular car, according to the team. For example, the binders in the flap panels, as with the predecessor Lina made from vegetable parts, can now also be completely recycled. Unlike the Lina, the binder (this time PLA) and the flax structure can be separated again when the car is taken out of service. The Noah is not very beautiful, but it looks better than an i3. Not that that is very difficult. {youtube} Car manufacturers nowadays do everything to make their products lighter. However, expensive materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber are used for this. Such materials are not only expensive, but also laborious, and so it costs more energy to process them in cars. The environment obviously does not benefit from this. The unveiling of Noah, including license plate, is planned for June 2018. Thanks to Sjoerd for the tip!
The students from Eindhoven (Netherlands) take a new path and focus on more important matters. Great, those electric cars, but it is not (yet) environmentally conscious. Driving does, it does not produce. However, the TU / ecomotive has started working on a solution, in the form of a circular car. With this we mean the processing of recyclable products in a car. A team of 22 students (from 9 different directions) worked on the new concept and design since June 2017, with which it wants to demonstrate that cars can also contribute to the circular economy. TU Eindhoven already made the world's first bio-based car last year: the Lina. The new car, which was presented last night, was baptized by Noah. The Noah weighs only 350 kilos and is a double city trolley with modular batteries. The range is 240 kilometers, a power of 15 kW brings the vehicle to a top speed of one hundred kilometers per hour. This successor to Lina must be the world's first circular car, according to the team. For example, the binders in the flap panels, as with the predecessor Lina made from vegetable parts, can now also be completely recycled. Unlike the Lina, the binder (this time PLA) and the flax structure can be separated again when the car is taken out of service. The Noah is not very beautiful, but it looks better than an i3. Not that that is very difficult. {youtube} Car manufacturers nowadays do everything to make their products lighter. However, expensive materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber are used for this. Such materials are not only expensive, but also laborious, and so it costs more energy to process them in cars. The environment obviously does not benefit from this. The unveiling of Noah, including license plate, is planned for June 2018. Thanks to Sjoerd for the tip!
First electric circular car
Cars become #electric and autonomous
Driving and the future Driving will change completely in the coming decades. We are going to drive electrically and there will be autonomous cars that communicate with each other. This is what awaits us in 2030. Many modern cars nowadays have cameras and sensors that see lines so that they keep the car in a track section, they have adaptive cruise control that automatically distances itself to predecessors and an emergency braking system that intervenes independently when a collision threatens. If that is already possible, how do we drive traffic in 2030? In an electrically powered, autonomous car, the car industry promises. Because that really comes. With a battery, cameras, GPS, Lidar - a kind of radar with laser pulses - and the unrestricted input of open data flows - regardless of the traffic situation - he will find his way flawlessly. The drive is electric. With the range (rising), the prices (decreasing) and the loading times (shorter, later also without cable) it is going well. The Paris climate agreement forces, Europe demands action. Germany, the Netherlands, France, China, Norway, the big cities; they all want to get rid of the combustion engine. Autonomous cars offer many advantages. The question is how quickly and on what scale the transition will take place. And will we buy the EVs of tomorrow still private or will it, especially in crowded cities, become much more practical and cheaper to share with others? Shared and autonomous: it is win-win. There are quite a few advantages: Autonomous cars drastically reduce traffic density in cities. They theoretically make fewer accidents. They limit parking pressure by driving to charging and collection points outside the city during off-peak hours. They reduce transportation costs, drivers are unnecessary. They are deployed more intensively than the private Golf that stands still for ninety percent of the time with a costly parking permit. Utrecht (Netherlands)  EV gives energy back to the grid. How? Is being thought about. Authorities, consultancies, manufacturers, scientists and research institutes publish policy reports, studies and future scenarios on the conveyor belt. And pilot projects are started. In the Lombok district of Utrecht, Robin Berg and his company LomboXnet launched the We Drive Solar shared car and energy project. Electric Renaults Zoe, locally powered by solar energy, are part of a neighborhood energy system. Non-used cars deliver via a smart charging station, which can both feed and drain batteries, their residual current to households when the sun is not shining. With 200 EVs Lombok should be self-sufficient. Technical and legal obstacles Yet there are also the necessary obstacles. The technical and legal obstacles appear to be considerable. Who is liable if it goes wrong? The growth of the EV market share, now less than 1 percent worldwide, stagnates due to long delivery times for the Tesla Model 3, the Opel Ampéra-e and the electric Hyundai Ioniq. We will have to wait for fully autonomous cars. The American Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) employs six levels of autonomous driving: from fully manual control (level 0) to autonomous on level 4 ('high automation', independent except under extreme conditions) and 5 ('full automation', independent Without limitations). A level 5 car no longer needs steering and pedals. Unfortunately, in this SAE ranking, production models in 2018 are not even halfway. Nevertheless Volvo wants to have a Level 4 car on the market in 2021. Driving license will soon be a thing of the past? Is the driving license then a thing of the past twelve years? Do we drive autonomously? Robin Berg makes an important reservation. 'An autonomous car in the neighborhood will not work. Nearby is the busiest cycle path in Utrecht. As a motorist you will only pass through with bluff. "Berg also sees the added value of the autonomous car. But not in city centers. He prefers to see them on the edges of the neighborhood, where the traveler immediately has the choice of train, bus or car. For Berg, the deprivation of the holy cow is a fait accompli. 'If you ask me what the future of the car looks like; it is no longer property, people use mobility.
Driving and the future Driving will change completely in the coming decades. We are going to drive electrically and there will be autonomous cars that communicate with each other. This is what awaits us in 2030. Many modern cars nowadays have cameras and sensors that see lines so that they keep the car in a track section, they have adaptive cruise control that automatically distances itself to predecessors and an emergency braking system that intervenes independently when a collision threatens. If that is already possible, how do we drive traffic in 2030? In an electrically powered, autonomous car, the car industry promises. Because that really comes. With a battery, cameras, GPS, Lidar - a kind of radar with laser pulses - and the unrestricted input of open data flows - regardless of the traffic situation - he will find his way flawlessly. The drive is electric. With the range (rising), the prices (decreasing) and the loading times (shorter, later also without cable) it is going well. The Paris climate agreement forces, Europe demands action. Germany, the Netherlands, France, China, Norway, the big cities; they all want to get rid of the combustion engine. Autonomous cars offer many advantages. The question is how quickly and on what scale the transition will take place. And will we buy the EVs of tomorrow still private or will it, especially in crowded cities, become much more practical and cheaper to share with others? Shared and autonomous: it is win-win. There are quite a few advantages: Autonomous cars drastically reduce traffic density in cities. They theoretically make fewer accidents. They limit parking pressure by driving to charging and collection points outside the city during off-peak hours. They reduce transportation costs, drivers are unnecessary. They are deployed more intensively than the private Golf that stands still for ninety percent of the time with a costly parking permit. Utrecht (Netherlands)  EV gives energy back to the grid. How? Is being thought about. Authorities, consultancies, manufacturers, scientists and research institutes publish policy reports, studies and future scenarios on the conveyor belt. And pilot projects are started. In the Lombok district of Utrecht, Robin Berg and his company LomboXnet launched the We Drive Solar shared car and energy project. Electric Renaults Zoe, locally powered by solar energy, are part of a neighborhood energy system. Non-used cars deliver via a smart charging station, which can both feed and drain batteries, their residual current to households when the sun is not shining. With 200 EVs Lombok should be self-sufficient. Technical and legal obstacles Yet there are also the necessary obstacles. The technical and legal obstacles appear to be considerable. Who is liable if it goes wrong? The growth of the EV market share, now less than 1 percent worldwide, stagnates due to long delivery times for the Tesla Model 3, the Opel Ampéra-e and the electric Hyundai Ioniq. We will have to wait for fully autonomous cars. The American Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) employs six levels of autonomous driving: from fully manual control (level 0) to autonomous on level 4 ('high automation', independent except under extreme conditions) and 5 ('full automation', independent Without limitations). A level 5 car no longer needs steering and pedals. Unfortunately, in this SAE ranking, production models in 2018 are not even halfway. Nevertheless Volvo wants to have a Level 4 car on the market in 2021. Driving license will soon be a thing of the past? Is the driving license then a thing of the past twelve years? Do we drive autonomously? Robin Berg makes an important reservation. 'An autonomous car in the neighborhood will not work. Nearby is the busiest cycle path in Utrecht. As a motorist you will only pass through with bluff. "Berg also sees the added value of the autonomous car. But not in city centers. He prefers to see them on the edges of the neighborhood, where the traveler immediately has the choice of train, bus or car. For Berg, the deprivation of the holy cow is a fait accompli. 'If you ask me what the future of the car looks like; it is no longer property, people use mobility.
Cars become #electric and autonomous
Electric cars from Thomas Parker to Prius, Volvo and Tesla
Imagine you could see into the future. How amazing would that be? You’d know if one of your favorite retired flavors were ever coming back. Or which Non-Dairy flavors we’ll be releasing next... Well, when it comes to automobiles, the future is easy to see—in fact, it’s already arrived. Electric cars are everywhere and it doesn’t take a prophet to predict that we’ll be see more and more of them in the years to come. Let’s take a look at 12 amazing milestones in the history of electric cars. First electric car The very first electric vehicle may well have been invented by a Vermonter (we’re filled with home-state pride!) back in 1834. Thomas Davenport, a blacksmith, developed an electric motor for a small locomotive that moved along a short track. The first production electric car was built by Thomas Parker in London in 1884. It even had high-capacity rechargeable batteries! Electric cars in 1900 in the United States  By 1900, about a third of all vehicles on the road in the United States were electric! But over the next few decades, the abundance, and low cost, of gasoline led to electric vehicles (EVs) becoming an afterthought. Prius in Japan, the world’s first mass-produced electric hybrid In 1997, Toyota released the Prius in Japan, the world’s first mass-produced electric hybrid. (Hybrids are powered by an engine that uses gasoline or an alternative fuel, combined with an electric motor.) The model was released worldwide in 2000 and brought the idea of electric motoring back into the mainstream. Tesla Roadster, the first mass-produced electric vehicle In 2006, Tesla announced the production of its first car, the Tesla Roadster, the first mass-produced, truly luxury electric vehicle.  Tesla is currently working to get its first 'affordable', mass-market car, the Model 3, to customers.  Electric car production  worldwide is booming Worldwide the predicted grows off electric cars will be between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Tesla passes Ford and General Motors in market value Tesla surpassed Ford in market value this spring. Then, a week later, Tesla found itself valued more than General Motors. Ford and GM have been producing millions of fossil-fuel-burning cars for more than 100 years each. Tesla is only about 14 years old, but the market appears to be betting on an electric future. All-electric is the future This past July, Volvo became the first mainstream carmaker to give up on gas guzzling, saying that all of its models, starting in 2019, will either be  hybrids or powered only by batteries. A few months later, apparently having seen the writing on the wall, General Motors stepped up to say that it believes 'the future is all-electric', it’ll begin producing at least 20 new EVs by 2023.  The Speed of Light (Or Electricity?) EVs are fast. Ridiculously fast. And getting faster. Tesla's record EV batteries continue to improve, meaning that drivers can drive their cars ever farther between charges. The record for Tesla range was set this summer when someone drove 670 miles on a single battery charge. That should help eliminate “range anxiety.” Your electric car battery charging gets faster At some point, no matter how powerful the battery, every EV will need to be charged. The good news is that charging stations are being added all over the country: now there are more than 16,000, compared to just a few thousand a few years ago. More good news; 'charging times are coming down too'. The electric car industry is dominated by China China is dominating the EV industry. It’s the world’s largest maker and seller of electric cars, with about 300,000 of them purchased this year, more than the rest of the world combined. Au Revoir, Gas-Powered Cars The mayor of Paris, France, Anne Hidalgo, announced plans in October 2017 to eliminate all non-electric cars from Paris streets by 2030. At the rate EVs are being added to the roads, it’s starting to feel like that goal is well within reach. By: Joe Romm, benjerry.com https://www.whatsorb.com/category/automotive
Imagine you could see into the future. How amazing would that be? You’d know if one of your favorite retired flavors were ever coming back. Or which Non-Dairy flavors we’ll be releasing next... Well, when it comes to automobiles, the future is easy to see—in fact, it’s already arrived. Electric cars are everywhere and it doesn’t take a prophet to predict that we’ll be see more and more of them in the years to come. Let’s take a look at 12 amazing milestones in the history of electric cars. First electric car The very first electric vehicle may well have been invented by a Vermonter (we’re filled with home-state pride!) back in 1834. Thomas Davenport, a blacksmith, developed an electric motor for a small locomotive that moved along a short track. The first production electric car was built by Thomas Parker in London in 1884. It even had high-capacity rechargeable batteries! Electric cars in 1900 in the United States  By 1900, about a third of all vehicles on the road in the United States were electric! But over the next few decades, the abundance, and low cost, of gasoline led to electric vehicles (EVs) becoming an afterthought. Prius in Japan, the world’s first mass-produced electric hybrid In 1997, Toyota released the Prius in Japan, the world’s first mass-produced electric hybrid. (Hybrids are powered by an engine that uses gasoline or an alternative fuel, combined with an electric motor.) The model was released worldwide in 2000 and brought the idea of electric motoring back into the mainstream. Tesla Roadster, the first mass-produced electric vehicle In 2006, Tesla announced the production of its first car, the Tesla Roadster, the first mass-produced, truly luxury electric vehicle.  Tesla is currently working to get its first 'affordable', mass-market car, the Model 3, to customers.  Electric car production  worldwide is booming Worldwide the predicted grows off electric cars will be between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Tesla passes Ford and General Motors in market value Tesla surpassed Ford in market value this spring. Then, a week later, Tesla found itself valued more than General Motors. Ford and GM have been producing millions of fossil-fuel-burning cars for more than 100 years each. Tesla is only about 14 years old, but the market appears to be betting on an electric future. All-electric is the future This past July, Volvo became the first mainstream carmaker to give up on gas guzzling, saying that all of its models, starting in 2019, will either be  hybrids or powered only by batteries. A few months later, apparently having seen the writing on the wall, General Motors stepped up to say that it believes 'the future is all-electric', it’ll begin producing at least 20 new EVs by 2023.  The Speed of Light (Or Electricity?) EVs are fast. Ridiculously fast. And getting faster. Tesla's record EV batteries continue to improve, meaning that drivers can drive their cars ever farther between charges. The record for Tesla range was set this summer when someone drove 670 miles on a single battery charge. That should help eliminate “range anxiety.” Your electric car battery charging gets faster At some point, no matter how powerful the battery, every EV will need to be charged. The good news is that charging stations are being added all over the country: now there are more than 16,000, compared to just a few thousand a few years ago. More good news; 'charging times are coming down too'. The electric car industry is dominated by China China is dominating the EV industry. It’s the world’s largest maker and seller of electric cars, with about 300,000 of them purchased this year, more than the rest of the world combined. Au Revoir, Gas-Powered Cars The mayor of Paris, France, Anne Hidalgo, announced plans in October 2017 to eliminate all non-electric cars from Paris streets by 2030. At the rate EVs are being added to the roads, it’s starting to feel like that goal is well within reach. By: Joe Romm, benjerry.com https://www.whatsorb.com/category/automotive
Electric cars from Thomas Parker to Prius, Volvo and Tesla
Electric cars from Thomas Parker to Prius, Volvo and Tesla
Wild-looking electric solar car that’s designed to make sitting in traffic suck less
Chris Bangle is an auto industry legend. An arguable  mad genius of auto design  (as well as one of Fast Company’s  Most Creative People ), Bangle was BMW’s first American design chief and a long-time Fiat designer who played an outsize role in building a wild visual language for contemporary cars that owes as much to modern art as it does to 1960s Detroit. After leaving BMW, Bangle started the design firm Associates, which has worked with an eclectic list of non-auto clients like Samsung. Now Bangle is back in the car world with an entirely new project: a tiny, mostly aluminium car designed for city driving whose seats can be rearranged like a giant game of Tetris. Meet the ‘Reds’. At an event at the ArtCenter in Pasadena on November 28 during the Los Angeles Auto Show, Bangle unveiled his newest creation. The  China High-Tech Group Corporation  (CHTC), a large Chinese government-owned company, is spinning off a new auto company called Redspace. Redspace’s first car is Bangle’s Reds. It’s an aluminium electric car with a boxy shape and sharp angles everywhere–a design Bangle says was partially inspired by Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes (An “adult in a kid’s body,” Bangle said onstage at the reveal). Reds is, well, the most unique car you’ve seen in a long time. It also reverses decades of conventional car wisdom by putting the design of the car’s passenger interior front and centre. In that respect, it feels like it’s hinting at what the inside of cars will look like in the coming autonomous vehicle era. First things first: The car is tiny, as in 9.7-feet-long tiny. It’s tinier than the Fiats and Minis Bangle used to work on. It’s smart car-sized, and has a flat roof with solar panels on top, sliding doors, wings on the side, and even little flares over the doors designed to protect you from the rain as you exit the car. The inside? It’s different. Bangle and his design team created seats you can rearrange like blocks in a game of Tetris. The driver’s seat can rotate into reverse position when parked, and four seats are packed into the tiny miniature car. There’s even a fifth seat that can be added when the car is parked; the rear hatch can be converted into a jump seat that fits over the small cargo well. There are also several idiosyncratic touches such as a foot massager for passengers, a pop-up 17-inch video screen viewable from the whole car, and a configuration for the back seats that looks much like a loveseat sofa. The idea is that you don’t just commute to and from work in your car–your car also becomes a portable office, a place to unwind in the driveway, and even a cabin for watching television with friends. Although self-driving cars weren’t mentioned onstage at the reveal, almost everything Bangle and his corporate backers displayed looks like it’s straight out of an autonomous vehicle techie think piece. In our conversation, Bangle emphasized that this car is a new experiment in and of itself, and not a precursor to an autonomous vehicle. However, the living space-centric inside hints at what the interiors of future mostly autonomous vehicles will look like, when people no longer have to focus on driving. Megacity Traffic Jam Onstage at the Reds event, one phrase kept popping up among the Chinese auto executives bankrolling the car: “Make megacity mobility more joyful.” Electric vehicles are having a bit of a moment in the Chinese auto industry right now due to three factors: a slew of first-time auto owners, dense urban environments where most drivers are making short drives, and heavy investment in infrastructure for electric vehicle charge points in cities and suburbs. But why this car design in particular? “First of all, traffic just isn’t moving,” Bangle says. “The speeds are very low and the speed limit is 120 kilometres per hour (74 miles), so it doesn’t make sense to design a car that at its best is 180 kilometres per hour–though, of course, it’s a great thing too if you want to do that. “But when you’re at these lower speeds, you can rethink aerodynamics, keep the acoustics of aerodynamics in mind, the stability in mind, but not play slave to all the Cx value aerodynamics [a measure of the car’s drag] that are necessary at higher speeds,” Bangle added. “At this speed, the critical thing is weight. That’s why it’s an all-aluminium car–to keep the weight as low as possible, which gives us acceleration as well.” Turning cars into leisure spaces During the unveiling, CHTC’s executives made multiple mentions of the idea of looking at cars almost as leisure spaces when drivers aren’t actively driving. Case studies were shown where the Reds vehicle functioned either as a chill-out space for busy parents shuttling their children to appointments, for office workers looking for a quiet place to get some extra work done on the way home, and as a place for teenagers and gen-Zers to hang out and watch television. In other words–using a car much like you’d use a coffeeshop or neighbourhood bar. It’s a radical reimagining of a car, but one that is less odd than it seems for many countries–not just China. Commuters on public transit are used to sitting down and playing smartphone games or reading a book on their trip; it’s not much different to imagine a white-collar worker pulling into a mall parking lot to finish a PowerPoint deck or twentysomethings streaming Netflix in a car during a bad traffic jam with a 90-minute commute home. These things are universal pretty much in any country where you have an affluent consumer base and, well, bad traffic. And when future cars gain more autonomous capabilities, you can bet that similar design cues will show up in more mass market vehicles worldwide. As Bangle put it in a press release, “It’s about time we made a car that not only has a wrap-around love seat but is also best-in-class for diaper changing.” CHTC is referring to Reds as a “alpha prototype,” and there’s no firm info about release date or what pricing would be just yet. The car was most recently on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and Redspace says next steps for the vehicle are testing, developing production plans, and finalizing a supplier network. Images: courtesy Chris Bangle Associates By Neal Ungerleider
Chris Bangle is an auto industry legend. An arguable  mad genius of auto design  (as well as one of Fast Company’s  Most Creative People ), Bangle was BMW’s first American design chief and a long-time Fiat designer who played an outsize role in building a wild visual language for contemporary cars that owes as much to modern art as it does to 1960s Detroit. After leaving BMW, Bangle started the design firm Associates, which has worked with an eclectic list of non-auto clients like Samsung. Now Bangle is back in the car world with an entirely new project: a tiny, mostly aluminium car designed for city driving whose seats can be rearranged like a giant game of Tetris. Meet the ‘Reds’. At an event at the ArtCenter in Pasadena on November 28 during the Los Angeles Auto Show, Bangle unveiled his newest creation. The  China High-Tech Group Corporation  (CHTC), a large Chinese government-owned company, is spinning off a new auto company called Redspace. Redspace’s first car is Bangle’s Reds. It’s an aluminium electric car with a boxy shape and sharp angles everywhere–a design Bangle says was partially inspired by Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes (An “adult in a kid’s body,” Bangle said onstage at the reveal). Reds is, well, the most unique car you’ve seen in a long time. It also reverses decades of conventional car wisdom by putting the design of the car’s passenger interior front and centre. In that respect, it feels like it’s hinting at what the inside of cars will look like in the coming autonomous vehicle era. First things first: The car is tiny, as in 9.7-feet-long tiny. It’s tinier than the Fiats and Minis Bangle used to work on. It’s smart car-sized, and has a flat roof with solar panels on top, sliding doors, wings on the side, and even little flares over the doors designed to protect you from the rain as you exit the car. The inside? It’s different. Bangle and his design team created seats you can rearrange like blocks in a game of Tetris. The driver’s seat can rotate into reverse position when parked, and four seats are packed into the tiny miniature car. There’s even a fifth seat that can be added when the car is parked; the rear hatch can be converted into a jump seat that fits over the small cargo well. There are also several idiosyncratic touches such as a foot massager for passengers, a pop-up 17-inch video screen viewable from the whole car, and a configuration for the back seats that looks much like a loveseat sofa. The idea is that you don’t just commute to and from work in your car–your car also becomes a portable office, a place to unwind in the driveway, and even a cabin for watching television with friends. Although self-driving cars weren’t mentioned onstage at the reveal, almost everything Bangle and his corporate backers displayed looks like it’s straight out of an autonomous vehicle techie think piece. In our conversation, Bangle emphasized that this car is a new experiment in and of itself, and not a precursor to an autonomous vehicle. However, the living space-centric inside hints at what the interiors of future mostly autonomous vehicles will look like, when people no longer have to focus on driving. Megacity Traffic Jam Onstage at the Reds event, one phrase kept popping up among the Chinese auto executives bankrolling the car: “Make megacity mobility more joyful.” Electric vehicles are having a bit of a moment in the Chinese auto industry right now due to three factors: a slew of first-time auto owners, dense urban environments where most drivers are making short drives, and heavy investment in infrastructure for electric vehicle charge points in cities and suburbs. But why this car design in particular? “First of all, traffic just isn’t moving,” Bangle says. “The speeds are very low and the speed limit is 120 kilometres per hour (74 miles), so it doesn’t make sense to design a car that at its best is 180 kilometres per hour–though, of course, it’s a great thing too if you want to do that. “But when you’re at these lower speeds, you can rethink aerodynamics, keep the acoustics of aerodynamics in mind, the stability in mind, but not play slave to all the Cx value aerodynamics [a measure of the car’s drag] that are necessary at higher speeds,” Bangle added. “At this speed, the critical thing is weight. That’s why it’s an all-aluminium car–to keep the weight as low as possible, which gives us acceleration as well.” Turning cars into leisure spaces During the unveiling, CHTC’s executives made multiple mentions of the idea of looking at cars almost as leisure spaces when drivers aren’t actively driving. Case studies were shown where the Reds vehicle functioned either as a chill-out space for busy parents shuttling their children to appointments, for office workers looking for a quiet place to get some extra work done on the way home, and as a place for teenagers and gen-Zers to hang out and watch television. In other words–using a car much like you’d use a coffeeshop or neighbourhood bar. It’s a radical reimagining of a car, but one that is less odd than it seems for many countries–not just China. Commuters on public transit are used to sitting down and playing smartphone games or reading a book on their trip; it’s not much different to imagine a white-collar worker pulling into a mall parking lot to finish a PowerPoint deck or twentysomethings streaming Netflix in a car during a bad traffic jam with a 90-minute commute home. These things are universal pretty much in any country where you have an affluent consumer base and, well, bad traffic. And when future cars gain more autonomous capabilities, you can bet that similar design cues will show up in more mass market vehicles worldwide. As Bangle put it in a press release, “It’s about time we made a car that not only has a wrap-around love seat but is also best-in-class for diaper changing.” CHTC is referring to Reds as a “alpha prototype,” and there’s no firm info about release date or what pricing would be just yet. The car was most recently on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and Redspace says next steps for the vehicle are testing, developing production plans, and finalizing a supplier network. Images: courtesy Chris Bangle Associates By Neal Ungerleider
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Easy transportation of goods is one of the backbones of our modern society. Unfortunately a lot of energy is involved in getter your goods from A to B. In these articles we try to tell you all about carbon neutral fuel and other sustainable efforts to move goods around the world.

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