What do you look for when you are shopping for a car? Heatherwick Studio has collaborated with Chinese electric vehicle brand IM motors to design a car called Airo that might tick all of your tech boxes. Airo is a compact urban electric car with a global and environmental mission. The vehicle is designed to run completely on electric power featuring autonomous and driver-controlled modes.
This futuristic car goes a step further as it’s equipped with a state-of-the-art HEPA filtering system that actively cleans the surrounding air. This isn’t simply another electric car that runs on clean energy; the active filtering system actually vacuums up the pollution from other vehicles as it passes through the under-carriage and cleans it. Polluted air—carrying particles of various sizes of harmful chemicals generated by other cars on the road—passes under the vehicle and enters the HEPA filter. The particles are then trapped inside and go through a series of more intricate traps, removed from flowing air and leaving clean air behind. For smog-covered cities, an air-filtering automobile would be ideal.
The eco-friendly vehicle also boasts a unique design. It looks like it’s wrapped in ribbon with a curvy and friendly looking body. The car has sliding doors that open up to a spacious interior. It’s also an autonomous automobile, which means its insides need to be designed differently. Once again, Heatherwick Studio has thought outside the box, turning the “wasted” space of an idle car into a benefit of comfort and convenience. The car’s interior can transform into various functional spaces, like a lounge, gaming pod, or a room for sleeping. The rotating seats can face each other to create a dining space by unfolding a four-leaf table. A screen can also be extended for watching movies or playing games. The contoured seats even turn into double beds when fully reclined. In this mode, the glass roof can be made opaque to create a private bedroom space. “This is clearly a space to spend time in even when you’re not on a journey,” Heatherwick says.
Alongside the car, Heatherwick Studio has also designed a charging station that oozes with individuality. The curved charging station is created with industrial materials such as weathered steel with a retractable wire and an ergonomic handle for easy connection to electric vehicles. The station is built to bud out from the pavement, providing easy access to power all while taking up minimal space. The designs of the new vehicle and charging stations go hand in hand as they will both become a part of the infrastructure of the city. They will be “part of the urban fabric for decades to come.”
Airo is developed to reimagine the lifestyle-car-environment balance and could go into production as early as 2023.