British designer Thomas Heatherwick has created an all-new
eco-friendly carfor Airo. It also moonlights as a lounge space when not in use!
However, because of its wacky look and ambitious intentions, critics are skeptical of whether this
green carwill even get past the concept stage, let alone be an effective pollution reducer on the streets.
Intriguing car design
First showcased in April at a Shanghai car show, the car has a glass roof and unique look. A series of ripples go all the way down the car’s sides. It’s quirky, it’s odd, but it actually looks kind of cool. In a futuristic, eye-catching way.
Just one look at the car design is enough to tell that it doesn’t look anything close to a normal car. It has four wheels, seats inside, and… that’s about it when it comes to similarities on the Venn diagram between a car and _this _car. In fact, the seats aren’t even normal seats—they can be adjusted into beds, and there’s also a central table you can use for meetings/meals.
How does it reduce pollution?
BBC Newsreports that the car is centered around its ability to suck in air pollution via its front grill’s air filter. According to the car’s designer, Thomas Heatherwick, the air filtration can "collect a tennis ball worth of particulate matter per year".
It might not sound impressive, but the plan is to begin manufacturing in 2021 with 1 million cars in China, where designer Mr. Heatherwick was first approached by IM Motors.
A million cars that each collects a tennis ball worth of pollution? Not bad.
The car’s secondary purpose revolves around the "space crisis". COVID has increased people’s need for more space at home, be it an accessible office or study. Mr. Heatherwick was inspired by first-class airline seats and wanted the car to act as a communal space when not being driven.
It’s not "crazy luxury", though, as Mr. Heatherwick says the vehicle will be priced around $40,000.
The problem with concept cars
BBC News notes that the Airo car is not garnering substantial support from experts. Peter Wells, professor of business and sustainability, claims that the "contribution of this car to cleaning the air in our polluted urban centers would be so small as to be impossible to measure."
Professor Wells also comments on how the automotive industry keeps hyping up concept cars and failing to produce results.
Concept cars that sound too good to be true are often watered down when it comes to actual manufacturing and production. Either it’s not practical, too expensive, or simply impossible to create.
Mr. Heatherwick acknowledges the doubt cast upon concept cars and emphasizes that this is not meant to be a concept car, but the real thing that will make it into production without too many changes.
Importance of sustainability
At the end of the day, pollution is a big concern for everyone. If you live in a city with high pollution, you are probably so used to the polluted air or allergies that you don’t think about it much anymore.
An eco-friendly car is a planet-positive investment. Electric and hybrid cars also net you a federal tax credit that can save you a lot of money as an extra incentive.
If you’re considering going green when it comes to cars,
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