Radically Designed Plug-In Vehicles to Become Future Classics?

MAR 14 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 4

Odd-Shaped, but Aerodynamically Correct  Nissan LEAF Headlight

Odd-Shaped, but Aerodynamically Correct Nissan LEAF Headlight

Recently, Bloomberg posted an editorial on the death of design and the loss of personality in today’s automobiles.

From All Angles...The Fisker Karma is a Radical Design

From All Angles…The Fisker Karma is a Radical Design

While mostly truthful, some automobiles still have flair,  some are even quirky in a way that only the tail-finned Cadillac DeVilles and boatail Buick Rivieras of the bygone era were.  Oddly, those Cadillacs, Rivieras and other similarly odd-looking automobiles, are still mostly cherished for their radical designs today.

That brings us to the point of this post.

Most of the general public sees the Nissan LEAF as an outrageously quirky and, perhaps even goofy-looking vehicle.  Likewise, the radically styled Fisker Karma sure stands out in a crowd.  Other plug-in vehicles cry “I’m electric,” too.  Even the Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid screams for attention.

It’s long been argued that more mainstream designed plug-in vehicles will boost sales.  Though that’s likely true, some of those mainstreamed plug-ins will be forgotten as soon as production ends.

Vic Doolan, a longtime auto industry executive, told Bloomberg that electric vehicle technology will likely lend itself well to outrageous future design:

“We’ll see designs that stir both the passion of a six-year-old boy and a 60-year-old boy.”

So, while the ho-hum styling of the Honda Accord PHEV or Toyota RAV4 EV will never be remembered, funkier vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and even the Fisker Karma will most likely, for better of worse, never be forgotten.  And you can bet your dollars that the VW XL1 will forever be remembered.

Categories: Fisker / Karma, General, Nissan, Volkswagen

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4 Comments on "Radically Designed Plug-In Vehicles to Become Future Classics?"

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vdiv

In order for people to remember these vehicles they need to know about them first. How many people knew about the Chrysler Turbine or the EV1? How many even remember the first gen. Honda Insight or better yet the CR-Z? And who has heard of or seen a Th!nk City? Twizy??

Conversely will people remember the Model S because of its looks or because of what this car means to modern day electrics?

GeorgeS

Gas Turbine APU’s were my job so I certainly remember the Chrysler turbine. Loved the EV1. Loved the first Honda Insight. Oddly,the S is almost mainstay now from a design viewpoint,,,but a nice looking car none the less. Think City??? What’s that.

scottf200

Sales of Twizy were over 9000 among European buyers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Twizy#Sales
Compare that number to the monthly scorecard (decent):
http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/

James
Oddly, the common Joe and Jane don’t understand aerodynamics and prefer cars with a “face”, as in a big gaping grill or grilles. Designers have shaped and arranged these geometric shapes in various combinations and car owners expect a car to look a certain way since the Model T. Of course, there’s exceptions, like the VW Beetle or exotic cars such as Ferraris, which we all have accepted but put in certain defined boxes we can be comfortable with. When I bought my Prius ( 2nd gen ) my family all commented at how ugly it was. I knew it was designed in a wind tunnel and really liked it’s shape. The only thing I didn’t like were the tiny wheels and tires which made them look like kiddie cars – so I opted for the “Touring” model with larger wheels which, to my eye, made it look a bit better ( and I sacrificed 3 mpg for 1″ diameter ). So I realized how much I was effected by aesthetics as well. Kids in school should be taught some aerodynamics in science so they understand why we should look to nature to design cars and trucks that don’t upset… Read more »