BMW's Former Design Chief Creates Quirky City Car For China

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This is what former BMW design chief Chris Bangle thinks an ideal city car should look like.

It's not uncommon for legendary car designers to start their own companies. Gordon Murray, the man responsible for designing the iconic McLaren F1 and the recent rebirth of the TVR Griffith, recently launched his new car company that will specialize in limited-run production cars. Former BMW design chief Chris Bangle also runs an independent design house. Bangle is famous in the industry for his unusual car designs such as the BMW Z9 Gran Turismo concept car, Fiat Coupe, and the new Mini.

It therefore comes as no surprise that his latest project is a quirky electric city car for the Chinese market with a design that will divide opinions. Dubbed the Redspace, the urban EV will be produced by electric truck manufacturer CHTC Group. According to Autocar, it measures 2.97 meters long, which is over 8 cm shorter than the original Mini. It's designed to maximize interior space for passengers, while occupying very little roadspace. The Redspace's turning circle is smaller than a Smart Fortwo, although Redspace is taller and narrower. There's seating for four on the move, and five when stationary.

Revealed at the Art Center College of Design in Pasaden, the car on display is a working prototype previewing a future production model. Its boxy design deliberately looks like the crude cars you drew as a kid, while the solar panel roof is the largest of its class with an overhang that deflects sunlight, thus reducing the need for air conditioning. Equally striking is the interior, which has been designed using the philosophy that we spend 90 percent of our time in cars at a standstill. Inside, the driver's seat can swivel around and the steering wheel folds up into the dashboard. The passenger seats can fold flat, and the doors open with an extending roof to provide further shelter.

There's also a bench that can be used as a sofa among other uses and a 17-inch infotainment screen to help you relax in traffic jams. No performance or range details have been revealed, but Bangle promises that the Redspace will be class-leading.

Chris Bangle Associates/REDSPACE

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