A new production prototype from Chinese electric carmaker Human Horizons seeks to set a new benchmark for the future of electric car design.
Electric carmakers abound in China, and as the Chinese government cuts back on “new energy vehicle” subsidies to encourage better innovation, Human Horizons is determined to set itself apart.
The carmaker’s first production prototype, the newly unveiled HiPhi, is the embodiment of the brand’s philosophy: to pursue “a human-oriented philosophy and applies human-centric intelligence to advance the transformation of future human mobility”.
While this approach is not exactly ground-breaking – similar values have been spouted by car designers before, such as by Darren Palmer who is heading the reincarnation of the Ford Mach 1 Mustang as an electric SUV.
Human-centric design is also cited as Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk’s inspiration behind the famous falcon-wing door design of the Model X, to save parents getting kids in and out of cars from having to perform contortion acts.
Still, the HiPhi captures the imagination; in a brief, one minute video the carmaker executes a classy marketing production that shows off thoughtful design highlights such as multi-bulb front and rear lights that can light individually, and LED arrows to indicate doors opening .
It takes the gullwing door (which on other models attracted criticism due to wingspan) a step further than the Model X with a combination swing door AND gullwings on the rear roof.
This in itself is actually pretty cool, but inside it gets even better – a multi-touchscreen display adorns the dash and along with strip lighting on the back of the chairs it gives all the appearance of entering the Tron world of sci-fi movie fame.
Human Horizons hasn’t given out much info yet on driving specs such as battery size, range and power, but it is keen to convey the lengths to which it has gone with making sure the HiPhi1 delivers a fully-connected and adaptive “Vehicle-Road-City ecosystem” experience.
With a neural network consisting of 4 “superbrains” and 6 CPUs, the HiPhi promises to be the epitomy of smart, intelligent mobility – and, Human Horizons claims, the first to be equipped with a 5G-V2X enabled communication network.
As per its press release:
HiPhi 1 is equipped with more than 500 sensors and the first production car with a 5G-V2X enabled communication network. In addition, HiPhi 1 introduces the world’s first Human Oriented Architecture (HOA), featuring a software-developer enabled platform within the electric and electrical (E/E) architecture which allows functions to be created that are both adaptive and self-learning.
Together, these provide a new level of customer experience that can continuously evolve over time. Artificial Intelligence learns and adjusts a substantial number of vehicle parameters based on the occupants’ habits and preferences.
Targetted at the rarified high-end and high-roller market, the HiPhi1 with its gullwing doors and ultra-futuristic sensibility could just have all the verve needed become the modern-day Delorean.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.