No other vehicle at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show attracted any more bizarre reaction than the Redspace REDS EV concept. It’s the automotive version of a tiny house. It’s transportation. It’s living space. And it’s a mobile office all in one small, futuristic-looking machine.
Chris Bangle, a former designer at BMW, originated the idea of the wacky electric vehicle for equally wacky, congested Chinese market.
Bangle and his colleagues at the auto show touted the vehicle with statistics. In China, they stated, cars are stopped 90 percent of the time. With living and office space also at a premium, Bangle believes he will have success with buyers who wish to combine three components of their lives into one place.
“This is not a concept car,” Bangle said. “This is a car.”
The vehicle, less than 10 feet long, features a sharp-edged, geometric form with a curved and forward-canted windshield surrounding the driver. The driver’s seat can rotate so occupants can converse.
The car’s battery pack is charged like other electric vehicles. But it can also get power to drive its climate control system and other electronics from roof-mounted solar cells. The vehicle can seat four, but the back seat can fold vertically flush, opening up the interior for an office and living area.
Production plans and pricing information have not been announced. But the company’s plans to manufacturer the vehicle only for the Chinese market may change, considering the recently expanding housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Several major publications recently reported traditional housing is no longer affordable to an increasing percentage of residents who work in major cities. Even workers in high-paying technology jobs have been priced out of their homes and apartments.
Jessica Bruder, author of a new book called “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century,” calls the trend “wheel estate.”
Abandoned department store parking lots in Oakland to the streets around high-tech campuses in Silicon Valley, have all become home for RVs, travel trailers, vans, pickup campers, old station wagons and other otherwise unused vehicles.
The Redspace REDS EV may not be such a bad idea. And it might even have a future in the United States.
Check it out in the video below:
Article Last Updated: December 28, 2017.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.