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Car Design in the Post-COVID Era

There is sufficient reason to believe that cars of the future may well incorporate new design principles in the wake of COVID-19. At least, that’s the view according to South Korean car manufacturer Kia. The company’s design boss, Karim Habib, anticipates that there will be various changes in response to some of the concerns and trends that have arisen from the current global pandemic.


What changes are being touted?

Vehicle design could be in for a significant overhaul it would seem…albeit perhaps not just yet. Quoted on some of the mooted changes, Mr Habib made clear how fundamental the adjustment in the mindset of motorists and occupants might be, stating, “we’re going to have talks with psychologists and anthropologists to really understand how the public’s psyche is going to be in future”.

More specifically, however, the company is looking at things like anti-viral coatings on interior surfaces, an area that Hyundai has also identified as a potential need in the future as it works on “virus-proof” cabins through the use of self-sterilising materials. Hyundai has also sought to extend its focus to the possibility of using temperature and ultraviolet light to sanitise surfaces.

Social distancing behaviour could also give rise to a new breed of vehicles, which would be short-range micro electric vehicles. These would effectively act as a supplement to other forms of transit such as public transport, bicycles and walking. Rather than an all-in-one motoring solution that many brands have tried to embrace through SUVs, this type of vehicle would be designed more simply as functional units, without the necessary frills that we’ve come to expect in all of the latest-release cars.

There is no denying that recent trends up until COVID-19 were all about shared mobility and peer-to-peer service. With that turned on its head in recent time as we stay at home and keep our distance from others, there is also likely to be some attention shift towards how the internal cabin connects all of the vehicle’s occupants. It is distinctly likely that cars will need to prioritise a more deliberate design when it comes to shared mobility, at least for the purposes of helping us uphold the momentum as far as the shared mobility trend.


But these are just a few of the potential design changes in the post-COVID era. What do you anticipate might change when it comes to new car design in the mid-term?

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