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What Chris Bangle did next: meet REDS, the car designed for traffic jams

Published: 29 November 2017

 City car by Chris Bangle Associates
 For Chinese brand REDSPACE
 Car and social space combined

Polarising automotive designer Chris Bangle’s creations are never boring.

Here’s the latest project from the former BMW head of design, revealed on the eve of the 2017 LA show: an electric city car study called REDS.

Created for REDSPACE, a new Chinese automotive company under the CHTC manufacturing group, it’s described as ‘a new kind of EV that introduces a new visual language for cars.’

The first major automotive project from Bangle after a hiatus from the car world, the REDS concept was overseen by his Chris Bangle Associates design consultancy. 

REDS: design overview

The REDS car is described as ‘a space that became a car’ – it’s designed for Chinese mega-cities, where cars can spend as much as 90% of their time stationary in traffic.

Thus, it’s a design as much about its interior packaging as it is about exterior styling – although, being a Bangle design, the latter is predictably wacky.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the car is its negative-angle windscreen. That’s partly to allow an extra-large roof, to accommodate solar charging panels.

REDS city car

The REDS car is 2.97m long (for context, a Renault Twingo is around 3.6m long, and a Smart ForTwo around 2.7m), but can seat four adults – or five when stationary. Overall dimensions are (length/width/height): 2977mm/1663mm/1759mm, with a wheelbase of 1441mm.

Part of the roof moves with the doors, allowing extra protection against rain.

Aerodynamics are said to be similar to a small delivery van or an SUV. With a projected top speed of around 75mph, the REDS is more about low-speed city driving than motorway use.

A versatile interior space

There are two full front seats with integrated seatbelts, positioned in a staggered formation. The driver’s seat can rotate to a reverse position when the door’s shut. When stationary, the driving controls fold out of the way and the back of the driver’s seat covers them.

The front passenger seat includes ISOFIX child seat anchor points.

Two rear passengers sit on a wraparound bench, and a fifth adult passenger can join the car when it’s parked, sat on an extra fold-down ‘jump seat’ across the cargo well.

REDS city car

The space behind the rear seat is said to be able to accommodate a folding pushchair and a large suitcase together.

A further seat features on the drop-down tailgate, for users to sit on while changing shoes, for instance.

A pop-up 17-inch screen can be used while parked, retracting to a third of that size while driving to display nav guidance and instruments. It’s controlled by a smaller touchscreen, which features a metal mask to guide the driver’s fingers, thus reducing the need for them to take their eyes from the road, REDS’ designers suggest.

Will REDS reach production?

That’s the intention. The car displayed here is the first public concept – expect some tweaking and fettling before the finished article arrives. A projected production launch date is as yet unspecified.

Click here for more from the 2017 LA motor show

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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