This article was written for RVtravel.com by our friend James Raia at the Weekly Driver, one of our favorite websites about automobiles, including news, car reviews and reports of trends about new makes and models.
No other vehicle at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show attracted any more bizarre reaction than the Redspace REDS EV. 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 the equally wacky, congested Chinese market.
Bangle and his colleagues at the auto show touted the vehicle with statistics. In China, they stated, cars are not on the road 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 manufacture the vehicle only for the Chinese market may change, considering the recently expanding housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area and other communities across America.
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 motorhomes, 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.
Article copyright 2018 by James Raia.