Can electric cars make music?

Can cars make music? This is the premise behind a research project that is looking into inventing new sounds for the age of the silent electric and hybrid vehicle, a sound that responds and returns something back to the environment. Electric cars emit very little noise. Legislations in Europe and the US, however, will soon dictate that they must alert other road users. What we’re seeing though is a focus on sounds that are about warning or are... Read More

Meet the new BMW i3 electric car

‘We want to demonstrate that something that at first glance may have been a drawback or a problem can be a new opportunity,’ says Benoît Jacob. ‘This is probably something no one had asked for before but then who asked for a phone without buttons before the iPhone?’ Head of design for BMW i told me a little while before the official launch of the i3 production car. This is the first car to be born out of this electric sub-brand. And we... Read More

BMW electric i store

The world’s population is moving to cities on a scale never seen before and the burgeoning megacities simply demands a new approach to mobility. Admittedly it has been revealing witnessing how carmakers have reacted to this. Some have put their hearts and souls into it; others have sat quietly on the fence waiting to see how the story unfolds. BMW is amongst the former group. This is a company with engineering at its core and it makes sense... Read More

Twizy electric mobility pod

The Twizy sets out to carve a new niche in personal mobility. Producer Renault refers to it as a ‘UDO’ as in unidentified driving object. Essentially a quadricycle, the diminutive hub is 2.34m long and 1.24m wide, can sit two and is available with or without doors. An all-electric engine powers the car, which on the more powerful model of the two accelerates to 28mph in six seconds and offers a top speed of just over 50 miles. The battery... Read More

Design team discuss Infiniti Emerg-e

A month before the Geneva Motor Show a few of us were called to Park Royal Studios in West London for a preview of Infiniti’s latest design study. Emerg-e joins the 2009 Essence and 2011 Etherea – collectively they speak of the marque’s design direction. To put all this into context Nissan’s luxury arm, which existed in the US as a premium brand, entered Europe in 2008 – the move prompting a much needed rethink of its design... Read More

Responsible luxury: In talk with Henrik Fisker

Sometimes it is a question of good timing. In the case of Henrik Fisker it was a combination of this and possibly knowing the right people that won him substantial financial backing to set up his independent green car company Fisker Automotive in 2007. Born in Denmark, Fisker on graduation joined BMW’s advanced design studio in Munich becoming president of the firm’s Californian studio DesignworksUSA. From there he went on to Ford to become... Read More

RCA students on Citroën’s electric aesthetic

With electric driving a reality it seems fitting that carmakers should find a suitable vernacular that represents a new era in mobility. It is also a golden opportunity to voice their unique approach to clean, green driving. With this in mind French firm Citroën asked final year masters students of vehicle design at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London to imagine a small car that could establish a unique electric vehicle aesthetic for... Read More

Alfonso Albaisa on Nissan electric car design

Alfonso Albaisa, design director at Nissan in America, discusses electric car design, the future of clean mobility and his take on the zero-emission sports car. Design Talks Should zero-emission cars have their own unique architecture and formal language? Alfonso Albaisa They are finding their own unique architecture. The formal language, however, is more of a conscious effort – it’s the intentional part. The zero emission car doesn’t... Read More