There’s a lot going on here so I’ll try to break it down best I can.
The video itself is a mess. The establishing shots are too long since they aren’t building suspense. The Disney-esque particle ribbons seem sort of 90′s and busy. The Tron city at the end should have been a modern skyline to show the real world implication (to contrast and offset the entire fantasy of the previous) as if taking the concept and driving it into the real world. That’s where you connect with the real people who want to buy the car. I did like the over simplified and friendly explanation of the hydrogen fuel cell process. I think education on all these technologies need a good explanation to the general public to gain acceptance and dispel untrue stigmas.
The front of the car is brilliant. I love the smug smile of that front curve, like a resolute but happy bulldog’s jowls. It’s a guardian, strong and proud. I like that they’ve purposefully removed exhaust pipes in the back because even if there’s just water coming out it really is an ugly relic of the past and associates with pollution itself. That’s smart psychology in design. The overall form factor is awkward at best. The wheel base is too short for the visual weight of the arch and creates an uneasy balance to the whole thing. This is the same reason I don’t like Mitsubishi’s latest Sportback Lancer, it’s just distributed poorly.
I’ve commented on the Prius before and I think this is a good evolution – taking what used to be an ugly status symbol for those eco pretentious to flaunt and moving it into the decent looking mainstream. ‘You don’t have to settle for ugly in order to help the planet’, it says. Is it sporty and gorgeous? Well… no. But it’s better than before.
With that said, and like all car technology you’re just moving the problem around. How do we get the hydrogen? Well, you need energy from somewhere to break it apart from water. This might be from wind or solar, which would make it clean (but slow) or from burning fossil fuels (sound familiar?). To be fair, it is natural gas, which isn’t as bad as gasoline, and bigger centers can be made more efficient than a mass of individual smaller engines. Hydrogen is harder to deal with since it requires high pressure tanks in order to get any sort of distance from them – tanks which are prone to issues with extreme heat and any cold under freezing and are harder to interface with at the pump (gasoline just flows, adding pressure becomes a challenge). Crashing becomes a much bigger concern but while we can make very robust tanks to minimize that, it adds weight and size. I am curious if they’re burning it with an internal combustion engine or converting it for electric use; they never mentioned.
The chairs I’m torn on. With that colour scheme they look like people wearing vests. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or if I’m just anthropomorphizing things but I think I’d be alarmed sitting on a “person”, even subconsciously. On the other hand, it creates a very friendly, familiar appearance to things. We relate to human shapes, they make us comfortable. And, perhaps that’s the plan.
I am excited though. I think even if it’s not a perfect solution it at least shows that companies are willing to explore other areas and try new things. I appreciate that. It’s these sorts of projects that wean people off of internal combustion and get used to alternatives and as a societal shift that can have great importance with the adoption of new technology.
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