A NEW VISUAL LANGUAGE FOR EVs
CHTC AND CHRIS BANGLE PRESENT REDS:
A SPACE THAT BECAME A FULLY ELECTRIC CITY CAR
Los Angeles Motor Show, 1-10 December 2017 – REDS is a space, a space that became a car.
A space for living our lives happily, while around us dense traffic crawls between suffocating glass
towers. REDS is the alpha prototype of a new kind of EV that introduces a new visual language for
cars. REDS is a 2.97 m long city car built around a multi-layered, design-led space-use analysis. It
represents a different interpretation of volume in an automobile – made possible thanks to the
mechanical layout of an EV – which has shaped its interior and from that the external architecture.
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% of the time. This means giving import to the dynamic lifestyle opportunities
that are possible in this kind of EV – especially when it’s stationary.
REDS is a project developed by Chris Bangle and his team for CHTC (China Hi-Tech Group
Corporation). It is not a concept car, a research program or a design exercise for an indefinite
future: instead it is the first phase of a program with the aim to start manufacturing in the near term.
If space was the final frontier, then the challenge today is in making it the primary selling point of a
sub-three-meter car. A key to REDS success comes from understanding that if an electric vehicle
is to function in new ways, it cannot be designed using the visual language of traditional cars.
«REDS breaks away from conventions. We are entering a fourth age of car design, but designers
are hesitant because of the fear of doing things differently. This car is, for me, the demonstration
that we can have something that is extremely emotional with immediate appeal, and at the same
time highly functional and intellectually engaging» says Chris Bangle.
The choice of Los Angeles for REDS’ worldwide premiere came up during the development phase.
«We want to know what people think about REDS and its evolution. Californians are opinion
leaders in the future of mobility: this is why we present here real solutions for the real world», says
Mr. WANG Jiangan, Assistant President of CHTC Group, Chairman of CHTC Motor.
REDS stands for enjoyment, whether the car is parked or driving. Its shape immediately inspires a
smile: at first glance the side view recalls a child’s drawing of a car. However, REDS’ simple and
fun design performs the complex feat of integrating the radical negative windshield and zerotumblehome
greenhouse into a familiar image. The complete form of the car reveals a unique
figure-8 silhouette, huge side windows, and the Cartesian doors that open on a unexpectedly wide
internal space. «We’ve created a new design language that is at once friendly and immediate, but
at the same time subtle, ambiguous, and textually layered. This gives REDS character, the kind
you will enjoy looking at for many years», says Chris Bangle.
Built in Turin (Italy) as a fully functional running prototype, REDS is full of innovation. Slightly
longer than a Smart Fortwo but with a smaller turning radius, it can seat four adults when moving
and five when stopped; it has space for one or two suitcases depending on configuration, and has
a rotatable driver’s seat – even with the doors closed. Engineered to have best-in-class 0-50 km/h
acceleration, REDS smoothly moves in traffic; it has a planned range at the top of its class
supported by the largest solar panel roof in its category, as well as excellent crash test results
thanks to the aluminum space frame surrounding the batteries. REDS welcomes the driver and
passengers to a safe, technologically advanced, and emotionally engaging environment: when
stopped it becomes a multi-functional, interconnected working space (helped by a drop down table
in development); the quiet venue for a meeting or a presentation; or a place to truly relax while
enjoying a film with friends on its 17’’ screen. It can be the alter ego of an urban mom that can rely
on its flexibility at all times during the day. «It’s about time we made a car that not only has a wraparound
love seat but is also best-in-class for diaper changing» says Chris (see Highlights Doc for
complete overview on innovations).
THE BACKGROUND AND THE NEXT STEPS
In 2014 CHTC asked Chris Bangle Associates (CBA) to lead a series of workshops on the future of
EVs in China’s megacities. CHTC operates – among their various sectors of activities – as a
commercial vehicle manufacturer, owns subsidiaries in both China and Europe, and is today one of
the main EV truck manufacturers in China. The workshops with Chris Bangle and his team focused
particularly on the real time construction of full-scale models that explored the idea of space in an
electric car. With this experience, in 2016, CHTC started developing REDS for production with
CBA providing the design. CHTC also registered a new company in China––REDSPACE––to be
the home of REDS. After the premiere in Los Angeles the car will go through testing, and