You might not have heard of America's newest EV startup, but you'll see it on the streets soon.
Would you pay for a car that isn't totally focused on being a car? Something that is more about the message you send by owning it, rather than the things that car does? It's a concept we're seeing more of in the EV realm, as skateboard platforms and modern production techniques mean most cars are capable appliances for getting from A to B. It's why the Rivian R1T has had to find unique tricks and tools to identify itself as different from every other electric truck coming out.
Now, America has a new entrant into this EV war. Meet the INDI ONE, the first product from California-based INDI EV and a Tesla Model Y rival that focuses more on lifestyle than it does on being a car. Car people will focus on the headline figures like a 300-mile range on the top-spec model or the 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, but INDI is focusing on the Vehicle Integrated Computer (VIC) that lets you play video games onboard.
In base form, it's an electric car with a 75-kWh battery and a claimed 230-mile range, although power outputs and acceleration times have not been provided. The premium model, simply called "Premium," will have the 95-kWh battery, 470 hp, 538 lb-ft of torque, and the 4.2-second 0-60 time. INDI says it'll have 300 miles of range and a top speed of 130 mph.
The INDI ONE will fit five occupants inside its AWD architecture, with the blob-like hatchback-cum-crossover design favoring practicality over outright style, made apparent by the 43 cubic feet of trunk space.
Other practical elements include a 15-inch central infotainment screen, a matching 15-inch screen ahead of the front passenger (we'll come back to that in a moment), and a center armrest with a wireless charger, USB ports, and space for four cans of cooldrink.
However, that's where the bulk of the car-ness stops. That's especially clear with what INDI EV calls the VIC. It's the car's infotainment unit. That hood of the ONE is actually tinted glass, beneath which the Vehicle Integrated Computer lives. It's also supported by open-source software for maximum customization, like custom horn sounds, and supports various services like a virtual assistant that supposedly learns your habits.
INDI says the VIC allows riders - not drivers - to play the latest generation games - presumably on the passenger-side screen so as not to fall into the same trouble as Tesla did recently. You can also shoot, edit, and upload content from in the car at any time thanks to its camera system.
We presume the VIC will also provide computing power to handle INDI's HALO driver assistance system. INDI doesn't say what it comprises, only that it consolidates all directional warnings in one place that is clearly visible to the driver and that it allows drivers to respond quicker to warnings.
The INDI ONE will make its public debut at the New York Auto Show, after which pre-orders will be open, requiring $100. INDI aims to start deliveries in Q2 of 2023. The base model is priced from $45,000 while the range-topper starts at $69,000. Both are eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credit. A portion of each reservation goes to support Global Green
There will be a choice of nine colors "inspired by Southern California's sun, surf, and entertainment lifestyle culture." They also have similarly California-y names, like Pacific Pearl, Laguna, and Catalina Wave. For now, only the white and black interior scheme you see here is available.