///////Project Info

///////J,P:A Index


PROGRAM: electric, low occupancy vehicle (elov)

SIZE: 12 sq. ft.

COMPLETION: October 1999 (prototype design), January 2009 (updated version)

NOTES: Lightweight composite body panels and monocoque frame, high-efficiency electric drivetrain

PROJECT TEXT: Originally proposed as a part of our “House of the Future” concept (published in El Segundo) for the Y2K-series ‘Visions 21’ by Time magazine, which challenged contributors from various fields to imagine “How We Will Live” in the year 2025, this design for a small electric low-occupancy vehicle was prompted by dual interests in decreasing traffic and increasing sustainability. The first interest was addressed by making the vehicle one-fourth the size of a standard passenger car, thereby quadrupling the area on the roads available for traffic. Specifically, the vehicle was only one-half the typical width, allowing the number of lanes on the freeway to be doubled. The second was answered by the vehicles light-weight construction and all electric powertrain.

Additional ahead-of-their-time features—many of which later became adopted by different players in the US automotive industry—include the overall shape (first seen on the early, Euro-only Smart City-Coupé but since standard for all sub-compact cars), the rear view camera (DOT-required for all new passenger vehicles today), the digital LCD panel displays for instrument and console screens (Tesla Model S), the low-center-of-gravity battery pack (‘skateboard’ design, now industry-standard), super-lightweight construction extending the range and obviating the need for extensive safety features except the full-surround air bags (in collisions they just bounce off each other), the polarized frit glazing (OK, this one’s still ahead of its time) and the independent, algorithm-controlled suspension and micromotors on each wheel, that allow the elov to corner at high speeds and otherwise adjust its profile and attitude to suit the driving conditions (as well as park at 90 degrees in a standard parallel parking spots).