Chris Bangle Is Once Again Blighting the Landscape With His Car Design

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
chris bangle is once again blighting the landscape with his car design

Former BMW Group design honcho Chris Bangle has been tagged by a Chinese firm to design an electric car for its Redspace Project, a venture bent on creating an EV for urban environments.

The result is, um, unique. Although it is, to this author’s jaundiced eye, no worse than a BMW 7 Series from the 2002 model year, a car which was apocalyptically ugly even when compared to a large goiter and an offense to any human blessed with the gift of sight.

As our associate editor ably referenced in September, Bangle is a tortured artist toiling in a world that refuses to acknowledge his genius. After he packed up his desk at BMW in 2009, he set out and started his own design company, forming Chris Bangle Associates. Since then, the company has designed buildings and art but, tellingly, never a car. Until now.

Billed as a new visual language for EVs, the REDS (short for Redspace), is “a space, a space that became a car.” A project developed by Bangle and his team for CHTC (China Hi-Tech Group Corporation), it is not considered by the company to a concept car, a research program, or a even a design exercise. Instead, according to its creators, it is the first phase of a program with the aim to start manufacturing in the near term.

Slightly longer than a Smart Fortwo but with a smaller turning radius, the REDS can apparently seat four adults when it is moving and five when stopped. There is no mention as to what the fifth person is supposed to do once traffic starts moving. Walk, perhaps? Anyway, the description goes on to say it has space for one or two suitcases depending on configuration, and has a rotatable driver’s seat, even with the doors closed.

There is little mention of battery capacity or other technical details, though it is described as a rear-drive machine. The builders do claim it will have a “best-in-class” 0-50 km/h acceleration, promising an EV range at the top of its class. The battery is apparently supported by the largest solar panel roof in its category. By this, we assume they mean other EVs.

Bangle mentions in the press release that the car is conceived and crafted to get the most out of life in Chinese mega-cities, where a car is not in movement 90 percent of the time. In this, the man has a very good point. It’s easy to be an armchair critic, after all; at least Mr. Bangle is making good use of his talents and creating something interesting.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course, given that Bangle’s company bills a “round Ping-Pong Table for five players” as part of its inspiration for experimentation. At least the REDS doesn’t look like an E65 7 Series.

[Images: Chris Bangle Associates]

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