Every year we get served up a heaping portion of concept cars from automakers at CES and Detroit. Weird headlights, huge screens, and a bevy of doors that can’t be bothered to open in a traditional manner. But lately there’s a sense that car companies are just going through the motions. They give us playful ideas like augmented reality and a koi fish that’s your virtual personal assistant, but in the end they dump all their money into more trucks and SUVs. Which is why I’ll take these automotive designs from a group of 11-year-olds any day of the week.
GoCompare, a Wales-based car insurance comparison company, asked a handful of London school children to design the automobile of the future, and then had an illustrator bring their drawings to life. Given the recent news that the UK will ban the sale of fossil fuel-burning vehicles in 2040, the company thought it would be best to find out what these new, clean-burning vehicles should look like from the kids that will be driving them.
What they got in return was unsurprisingly pretty childish. “There is lots of cute, fluffy, and robot-based designs,” said Andrew Campion, a spokesperson for Go Compare, “however there are also lots of eco-friendly designs and features which is interesting. In terms of alternative fuel sources, the children suggested everything from hydroelectricity, solar power and even (perhaps expectedly) chocolate!”
They fly, shoot lasers, and transform into robots. But they also run on battery-electric power and envision a future where drivers can sleep and eat rather than worry about paying attention to the road. It was interesting to see where an imagination not bound by the limitations of physics actually overlapped with the way real automotive designers are thinking about the future of cars right now.
My favorite is the Beast Racer 210, which looks like a cross between Falkor from The NeverEnding Story and David Carradine’s car from Death Race 2000. According to the artist Harrintha, 11, the vehicle has wings for flying, an anchor in the tail, glows in the dark, has flexi-glass windows, and is heat-proof. Which would make it the perfect car for our extremely hot future.
Kyre, 11, appears to have taken a page from Knight Rider with the Hennessey K-cell GT, an electric car with foldable wheels that also double as propellers. Paula, 11, designed a two-floor hover car, while 12-year-old Charlotte’s Rainbow Convertible 3000 functions as a home as well as a car. If we’re going to be sleeping in our self-driving cars in the future, I hope they’re as comfortable and delightful as these.