If you thought the AIM EV Sport 01 concept was a bit friendly looking compared to other electric vehicles, that wasn’t by mistake. In an interview, ex-Nissan designer Shiro Nakamura, who designed the model, said that he finds modern EV styling “aggressive.”
Nakamura – who guided the design of the R35 GT-R, the Cube, the Juke, the 350Z, and other iconic Nissan models – recently told Top Gear that “Cars can be charming too.” The concept made headlines earlier this month when Nakamura said he “wanted to express dynamism with sophisticated elegance through a simple, clean design.”
Gallery: AIM EV Sport 01 Concept
One automaker that seems to agree with him is Audi. Earlier this year, the company’s design boss, Marc Lichte, said the brand’s future EVs would be “softer, more friendly, less aggressive.” This announcement came just weeks after he noted in an interview that the company would invert the design process for its new electric models, starting with the vehicle’s user interface and interior before moving on to designing the exterior.
The era of electric vehicles has automakers rethinking how to design them. Flat floors that house the battery and electric motors at one or both ends of the body increase cabin space when there’s no need for a transmission tunnel or other intrusive accommodations for bulky ICE components. Nakamura told the publication that front- and mid-engine vehicles have to accentuate where the engine is, which isn’t the case with an EV, giving him freedom in styling the AIM EV Sport 01 concept.
However, automakers still need to focus on aerodynamics that increase and optimize the battery’s range. Yes, the powertrain technology gives designers more freedom in styling vehicles. However, insufficient charging infrastructure and technological limitations still induce range anxiety among customers that automakers have to account for.
In 2021, Porsche’s design chief said it’d be easier to develop an electric 911 from scratch because of batteries and electric motors, which will be interesting to see put into production as the company has a target of 80-plus percent of sales being battery-powered EVs by 2030. The automaker is already touting that its new flagship EV will have a “new interior experience,” which seems to be the focus of many automakers.
In January, Peugeot introduced the all-electric Inception Concept that pushed the boundaries of design and technology with a transforming cabin. The automaker hopes to bring many of the concept’s innovations to production by 2025. Cadillac also said it is reimagining car interiors not only for EVs but also for cars with advanced driver assistance systems that allow drivers to take their attention off the road ahead.
Electric vehicles are a big change for the industry beyond the powertrain, and it’ll be interesting to see what automakers produce. They are already experimenting with bigger screens, moving dashes, and other technologies to further reinvent the automobile.