The quirky EV cleans polluted air around it.
It doesn't seem that long ago that a zero-emissions electric vehicle was a technological marvel and driving one was considered a novelty. But times have changed and more and more people are able to afford EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model Y. The declining cost of producing batteries in the years ahead will further drop costs.
So, what is the next technological leap for EVs? How about a zero-emissions vehicle that goes a step further by actually cleaning polluted air around it as it drives? That's exactly what the Airo can do. It's a concept EV from Heatherwick Studio that was designed for IM Motors. The car was launched at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this year.
The Airo has both driver-controlled and autonomous driving modes. But while we're familiar with autonomous technologies, it's the Airo's HEPA filtering system that really sets it apart. This system actively cleans air passing through the Airo's under-carriage from polluting sources such as a combustion vehicle that is driving in front of it.
"Airo isn't simply another electric car that doesn't pollute the air," said Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio. "Instead, using the latest HEPA filter technology, it goes further by also vacuuming up pollutants from other cars as it drives along. Airo is a car intended to transport us to a cleaner and better future."
The Airo's "awareness" of its surroundings extends to other aspects of its design as well. Heatherwick points out the global space shortage, which is why the Airo's interior is a multi-functional cabin that can be used not only for transportation but for working, gaming, dining, and sleeping.
The customizable space features seats that can rotate from their usual forward-facing position to a more social setup where they face each other. They also have a fully reclining function to enable occupants to catch a few winks when the need arises - hopefully, this doesn't happen when the car is driving itself. It's not the prettiest EV to look at but this car seems to have more noble goals than merely pleasing aesthetics. The Airo is planned to go into production in 2023.