A car designed to remove air pollution while driving was shown at the Goodwood Festival in the UK.
Developed by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the Aero is set to go into production in China in 2023 – and the idea is to make a million of them.
Intensive design not only solves the problem of pollution, but also helps solve the “space crisis” proven by the Govit-19 epidemic.
However, critics do not believe that the automobile could be more than just a concept car.
Despite designing a new version of London’s iconic Routemaster bus, Heatherwick is best known for Google’s architectural projects in California and London.
He told the BBC that although he had never designed a car before, he was interested in the summary of the project.
“When I was growing up, design values were expressed through cars, whatever [Ford] Sierra, The [Fiat] Panda, some important ideas were coming through the cars.
“When IM Motors approached us in China, they said we were not car designers and said, ‘That’s why we like you.’
The car – which was first unveiled at the Shanghai show in April – has a large glass roof and its interior is designed like a living room, with adjustable chairs for beds and a center for tables or meetings. .
The interior of the Euro should be more of a room than a car – Photo: Getty Images via BBC
The steering is hidden in the dashboard, and the exterior of the vehicle is structured with continuous grooves or bumps.
“Automakers are eager to make electric cars, but a new electric car should not be another car with a different look,” says Heatherwick.
Aside from wanting to reflect the car’s top airflow with its wavy exterior, the front grille will be fitted with an air filter, he tells the BBC, “collecting the equivalent of a tennis ball of grain per year.”
“It doesn’t look big, but think of a tennis ball in your lungs. It helps clear the air, and with a million vehicles in China alone, it makes a difference.”
Combining this technology, he says, is “the next stage of development.”
It is expected to have an autonomous and driver-controlled mode.
BBC Peter Wells, a professor of business and sustainability at the Cardiff Business School’s Automotive Industry Research Center in Wales, said: “I do not see how this car can make a significant contribution to the many problems associated with car ownership and use.
“The contribution of this car to cleaning the air in our polluted urban centers is so small that it is immeasurable.”
“This is clear when you compare the amount of air passing through the car’s filtration system to the amount of total air.”
The second big idea behind the design of the car is an alternative space for owners to use.
“Govt has raised the issue of space crisis. Many of us live in apartments and houses and we need more space, office or study space,” says Heatherwick.
Only 10% of the billion cars in the world are used, and they have the potential to become “valuable real estate”, he adds.
He was impressed by the first class air seats used to “sleep, eat, play and work”.
“The car becomes a common place when you are not driving.”
The vehicle is expected to sell for around 40,000 (approximately £ 287,000) – Heatherwick described it as “not a crazy luxury”.
Wells did not believe the car could be made in its current form.
“The automotive industry has a long history around concept cars, but the transition to production – if it happens – usually translates into amazing features that are very simple, productive, practical and economical.”
“This is not a fantasy,” Heatherwick argues.
“The whole idea was that this was not a concept car, so we worked with a manufacturer and we focused on ideas that could happen.”
However, he acknowledges that “design can be a little simplistic” when it comes to production.