It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Will EV (Electric Vehicle) technology bring Style back to automotive design?

page: 1

log in


posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 01:55 AM
At the age of 5 I determined that I wanted to design cars for a living. Yes, I am a "Gear-head".

When I graduated from high school, I secured a scholarship to attend the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA to study transportation design.

The dream lasted one semester.

But I never lost my appreciation, and wonton lust, for beautifully designed cars.

Unfortunately, the demands for ever increasing fuel efficiency have resulted in an ever increasing emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency in automotive design. This emphasis on aerodynamics has led to the the homogenization of automotive design.

I once took a picture of a late model BMW, a Mercedes-Benz, a Ford, a Chevrolet, a Honda, a Kia, and a Toyota parked diagonally, side by side.

You would have been hard pressed to tell one from the other if you weren't familiar with their subtle differences. They all shared the same, basic body shape, to a disturbing degree, all in the name of optimized aerodynamics.

And all because their makers, tied to the internal combustion engine, desperately needed to squeeze every last drop of fuel efficiency from those engines.

Sacrificing individuality and excitement.

But now we have the advent of the EV!

If responsibly sourced, the electric "fuel" this new breed consumes need not be tied to stringently controlled hydrocarbon emissions; at least not at the individual vehicle level.

Aerodynamic efficiency need no longer be a priority in consideration of pure design.

We can have cars with Style once again!

Imagine an electric car with the style and flair of a 1939 Mercedes 500SK, or a 1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville convertible!

Fuel efficiency need no longer be the cornerstone of a design: we Can bring Sexy Back to automotive design!

What would you like to see that doesn't look like a jelly bean on four wheels?

Maybe someone should contact Elon Musk and make a suggestion?

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 02:11 AM
a reply to: Bhadhidar

Does any of the Tesla models look like a jelly bean? Glad you still have passion, but I think Musk has made the EV 'sexy'. My opinion, of course, but I don't think you'll find anyone suggesting any of the Tesla models look like jelly beans.

Good luck with pursuing your passion. It's NEVER too late!

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 02:44 AM
a reply to: Bhadhidar

you lost me at the notion that EV will allow the abandonment of aerodynamics and fuel efficiency

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 02:55 AM
a reply to: Bhadhidar
Bring back the 59 cadillac convertible .

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 05:19 AM
Aerodynamics also play a big role in electric vehicles. The more aerodynamic an EV is, the bigger the driving range you get from a single charge.

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 08:48 AM
Its a great thought and I like you would love to see vehicles with more than mere efficiency as the central design brief, but as other posters have already pointed out EV does not really permit this either. Still it was good to participate in a thread that wasn't about US Election/ISIS/Russia/WW3 etc so have a star and flag on me.

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 09:10 AM
a reply to: Bhadhidar

Ah..........the wonders, the beauties, that were the classic Jaguar automobiles. That would be utterly choice!

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 12:36 PM

originally posted by: BlueShaman
Aerodynamics also play a big role in electric vehicles. The more aerodynamic an EV is, the bigger the driving range you get from a single charge.

Yes, of course, even with EV's, the more aerodynamic the shape the less drag and the greater the mileage per charge.

But with Current battery technology And aerodynamics, vehicle range approaches that of comparable fossil-fueled vehicles.

With Improved battery technologies, already on the horizon, and aerodynamics, EV mileage ranges could easily Exceed current fossil-fueled vehicles.

That may be all well and good for those seek to maximize their economic returns, but My point is:

If you are willing to sacrifice absolute maximum range, by accepting a less "aerodynamically efficient" design, in return for a more unique, passion-driven, perhaps even retro-inspired "Work of Art", without the immediate environmental impact of a say, 7 liter straight eight cylinder engine,

EV technology now makes that dream possible.

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 12:53 PM
a reply to: BeefNoMeat

Yes, to the extent that they all share the same aerodynamically "required" softly rounded front end, the same "swept-curve" roofline, and the same Kamm-inspired abruptly terminated rear end as every other non-truck-derived, non-purpose-built sports-car on the market.

Those are the all too common designe feature I alluded to in my comment about the parking lot picture.

Sure, every make my incorporate some unique details into its designs, but, do to the necessity and demands of aerodynamics, those details are all but squiggles within the same frame.

Sort of like "This gingerbread man has short blue pants, but that one has long red pants, so they are completely different!"

The details may be different, But They Are Still, BOTH standard gingerbread men.

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 06:21 PM
a reply to: Bhadhidar
Even then, auto manufacturers have a lot more government regulations to follow when designing cars now than they did 50 years ago. For example, pedestrian safety puts fins out of the question. A retro-inspired work of art would also have to do well in crash tests, many of which would be done against conventional vehicles. Queue crumple zones, side impact door beams, thick A pillars, airbags all over the place etc, and that retro-inspired car starts looking less and less retro.

There are lots of exotic, unique-looking cars on the market today. Many are out of the reach of most wallets and aren't very practical, but the point is that no one is forced to buy a cookie-cutter car.

posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 09:45 PM
a reply to: Bhadhidar

Well, I was attempting at giving direct praise and encouragement, but you decided to double-down on the idea that you know better than those in the Tesla design department, and the number of flags received is a direct indication of how wrong you are in your 'opinion' of current EV car designs. I've seen a jelly bean before. I've seen a car we used to call a pregnant roller-skate ('02 GTI). I've never seen a car anyone call a jelly bean. It's not an opinion outside of your view, and none of the Telsa cars look like a jelly bean. Not one. The crappy thing is, 6 months ago Tesla received 276,000 preorders (well exceeded internal company expectations) for a specific car (can't remember the model) and, apparently, they all didn't receive the memo they just preordered a jelly bean for a car. From a far, I am gonna take an educated guess that you will never produce a single car and your "too-old-to-do-it" life circumstance may be a benefit/blessing in disguise. I'd take an even wilder guess, that a turd would be the benchmark for achieving your EV design. No one wants a car that looks like a turd. Don't do it to yourself. You're gonna fail miserably and the previous 51 years you wasted was not in vain, your car would've been a complete turd. And, as I said, no one wants a car that looks like a turd. Best you get back to tinkering with explosives or something more dangerous - the result (possibly yielding from an accidental explosion or noxious chemicals filling your mouthhole and nose) would be one I look forward to - and leave the hard stuff particularly, Tesla's engineers and their design team. I'm sure if they wanted to make a spoof of a model for marketing purposes some of your archived video material (if you have any on file) of your tinkering and design blueprints might give you an opportunity to get your opinions of jelly bean-looking EV cars heard and made fun of.

Good luck.
edit on 29-10-2016 by BeefNoMeat because: spelling

posted on Oct, 30 2016 @ 01:21 PM
a reply to: BeefNoMeat

Touch a nerve, did I?

Very sorry.

There is nothing wrong with jelly beans, never said there was. But, if at all possible, I'd prefer a diet that consisted of more than just jelly beans.

My point from the start has been that our reliance on the IC engine, in its various incarnations, forces us to deal with the toxic emissions they produce. This has, rightly lead us to try to reduce those emissions, and the damage they cause, by increasing the efficiency of the engines.

One of the most significant ways we've achieved that goal is by increasing the aerodynamic efficiency of the automobile itself. The result of this action, has, unfortunately, in my opinion, lead to the homogenization of automotive design: the jelly bean effect. (Take a look at some of Pininfarina's wind tunnel studies, particularly the "Cg" for the genesis of the "jelly bean" observation).

My assertion is simply that since EV technology makes it possible to design a car that does not NEED to rely on aerodynamic efficiency to reduce toxic emissions, it is now more than ever possible to produce a beautiful car that does not take absolute aerodynamic efficiency as its starting and ending consideration. And perhaps such a design might thus be able to take as it's inspiration some of the great designs of the past, without concern for aero-efficiency.

Yes, the Tesla S is a fine looking automobile (I will argue that the "falcon-wing" rear doors on the Model X are an unnecessary hinderence to the roof mounted cargo racks that are a mainstay of the SUV genre), but I don't think that every car should Have to look like a Tesla.

Especially if one could look more like a Talbot-Lago, and still be environmentally conscious as a Model S.

posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 11:38 AM
Thing is when car companies break away from the usual aero shape you end up with Nissan Cube or perhaps the PT Cruiser.

However it'd be neat if somebody doing electric stuff comes up with straight forward drop-in bolt-in retrofit kits for common engines/powertrains in vintage cars. Electric motors and motor controllers tend to be smaller than their internal combustion counterparts, so that shouldn't be a problem. Tricky part is battery placement without eating up usable space elsewhere in the car.

new topics

top topics


log in