The futuristic world of LEV designs
The phenomenon of Light Electric Vehicle is immensely broad and contains basically every light vehicle with either two, three of four wheels that has an electric motor in it.
The phenomenon of Light Electric Vehicle is immensely broad and contains basically every light vehicle with either two, three of four wheels that has an electric motor in it. In that case an ebike indeed also counts as a LEV. Although this means that there are potentially many electric vehicles that belong within the LEV scope, this article is about the one thing almost all those different types of LEVs have in common: their futuristic design. It is absolutely striking to detect that so many LEV have more or less the same aesthetic qualities. We know this shiny metallic, big displays and touch-screens, hard and soft line spaceship-looking and StarWars-like aesthetics from the automotive industry (such as the latest Mercedes-Maybach, or Honda’s NeuV), but it appears that cross pollination with the LEV industry is taking place.
Honda, for instance, already developed a LEV named ‘E-Canopy concept’ in 2011. Its aesthetic qualities one the one hand look like a scooter motorcycle: a three wheeled vehicle with a comfortable seat and a convenient-looking steer. On the other hand the design, with its smooth lines and futuristic front light, looks as if this buggy comes from 2030. Although the Canopy already exists for over a 30 years in Japan, this concept design definitely give it a futuristic upgrade. The hard and hooky lines of its predecessor made way for subtile and smooth, round lines, which gives it a more friendly-looking appearance. This, in a way, also tells us that the canopy will be environmentally friendly as well, which definitely is a must in the future.
(Source: https://www.motor1.com/photo/1069665/honda-townwalker-concept-10112011-1069665/. Consulted: 05-10-2017)
Another example of this futuristic cross pollination is the KTM motorized unicycle. KTM is known for their racemonsters. But what the Argentinean designer Ricardo Gutiérrez Bustos has designed now is nothing like we are used to from KTM. Bustos has chopped a motorcycle in half and put an electric motor in it. It uses the same gyroscopic technology as the Segway, however, this unicycle still looks like a tiny racemonster and has completely different LEV-aesthetics than the Segway we know. Funnily enough this design still has some of the features of the KTM cross-motorcycle, but because of its one-wheel design, it sure looks different. The aesthetics are hard and hooky lines combined with a big round wheel, which makes it look aggressive and more smooth-looking in comparison with the KTM race motorcycles on the other. Nevertheless, this LEV sure looks from outer space.
(source: http://www.yankodesign.com/2017/03/08/half-a-motorcycle-twice-the-fun/. Consulted: 05-10-2017)
This LEV does not originate from an established automotive industry brand, but it surely is worth mentioning it. Originated from Santa Monica, California, the OJO-commuter scooter is designed to transport people from one place to the other on the bike-lane. On the OJO-website, the company describes its LEV as a ‘unique combination of style and performance for a fun, safe and clean transportation solution.’ This means, among other things, they clearly focus on outer appearance. When compared to a normal scooter, the round-shaped seat and front, has a very clean aesthetic and minimalistic design. Although the design may not be as outer space-looking as the other two, the design makes the OJO-LEV look easy to handle and indeed a product of tomorrow. Another design feature this LEV possesses is quite a big touchscreen, that we know from the concept cars, on which there are several features displayed. According to OJO, it ‘allows the rider to choose from three speed modes, review current and historical distance information and control lighting & sound.’
(source: https://www.ojoelectric.com/discover-ojo. Consulted: 05-10-2017)
Cross pollination visibly is taking place, think of automotive brands who design LEVs and the touch screen on the OJO scooter. However, they clearly differ from each other. Apart from the difference in size between a car and a LEV, probably the biggest difference between the two is that the design of the futuristic concept-cars are much more elaborate and equipped with the latest and even future technologies, such as huge displays or a steer-poke in stead of a wheel. The LEVs, on the contrary, are more minimalistic in their design and therefore they almost literary appear as light vehicles. It seems that the designers only used what is really necessary, also keep in mind that most LEVs are made for commuters and therefore do not need to be elaborately equipped. Will those futuristic-looking LEVs take over the city-streets from cars? Only time will tell.