Packed with every possible technological feature, this mini-bus makes driving the distance as low-impact and comfortable as possible
The Nimbus E-car looks more like a mini-bus in its various renderings (see below). Created by artist and designer Eduardo Galvani, the last vehicle that looked anything like it was the very old school Volkswagen Microbus (which first appeared in 1949), which you hardly see on the road anymore. Much like the old bus, this van is designed for the conscious but mobile free range, locavore set. If nothing else, if this car ever hit the road it would shake up other drivers thinking about how a passenger car should look.
It’s hard to say if this is a masculine or feminine looking car. If anything, it’s neither. It’s more childlike. In fact, one of the elements that gives it a unique appearnce is the way the wheels are completely exposed from the chassis that’s lifted a bit above them, giving them a quality almost like feet.
Its appearance is like something out of a futuristic cartoon, and, in that spirit, it has taken advantage of every technological advance that it can, short of going driver-less (though who is to say it couldn’t). It has a mini-fridge, WiFi, USB-charging ports and a built-in tablet that also controls the air, sound and other systems, while also displaying information about the car.
The car is said to have driving modes, apparently optimizing how it works depending on use. So, the driver can optimize it for energy use, the long haul or offroad 4WD. That said, there isn’t much information given yet about what the car does differently in the energy save and open road functions. To save energy, the car has a smaller combustion engine, a 130 KW (180 hp) electric engine which recovers energy with solar cells on the roof and energy recovery in braking.
It also looks to be built for camping in and for carrying extra items up top.
As we know, packing more technology into your ride is something Google is already working on. Putting quite so much emphasis on the tablet here could be one design downfall. If you’ve driven a lot, tactile controls for music, heating and air, emergency lights and etc have some real advantages: you don’t have to look at them if you’ve been using the car a long time, you can find them quickly and there’s no danger of a software hiccup making them inaccessible when you need them most.
There’s no question once you have a look, though, that the priority with this concept vehicle is to make drivers reconsider what a personal vehicle should do and how it should appear.