Ex-BMW designer Chris Bangle creates zany REDS EV for China

It's a car, it's a living room, it's a dining room, it gives foot massages.

  • Image Credit: Chris Bangle Associates/REDSPACE
We'd wager no one could name the designer of the all-electric REDS city car without a few enormous hints. Yet we'd also wager no one would be surprised to find out that Chris Bangle penned the Revolutionary Electric Dream Space — REDS, get it? China High-Tech Group Corporation (CHTC) asked Bangle to design a prototype for young, affluent Chinese professionals looking for a fourth space outside their homes, jobs, and social haunts. The REDS owes its looks to the fact that it's a part-time car, a full-time living space.

It's so much stranger than it looks. According to the specs, the REDS measures 11 inches longer than a Smart Fortwo, 10 inches narrower, eight inches taller, with a wheelbase a whopping 17 inches shorter at 56.7 inches. However, while the Smart makes a meal out of two adults, the REDS can seat four full-grown men when on the go, five when parked. Bangle skewed the front seats in relation to the rear loveseat, so two rear passengers can stretch their legs between the front seats; when parked, the rear bench can hold three people.

To entertain a quintet, the driver's seat swivels 180 degrees and the steering wheel flips up. The retractable 17-inch infotainment screen extends to its full height. A table descends from the ceiling of the cabin. Anyone in the front passenger's seat can get a remote-controlled foot massage. The rear tailgate can serve as a bench. Those kinds of details help create the exterior lines: The forward-slanting windshield makes room for the flipped-up steering wheel; the bulbous window at the leading edge of the solar-panel-covered roof allows the driver to see elevated items like stoplights; the canted rear glass makes more headroom and mimics the front.

The fully functioning, aluminum-bodied runabout is rear-wheel drive, and Bangle says it will do 75 miles per hour, which is China's maximum highway speed limit. Other technical specs remain under wraps, so we don't know the battery capacity or range. Now that it's been revealed, the plan is to thoroughly test the prototype with an eye on production in two years or so by REDSPACE, CHTC's newly established car company.

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