Will the coronavirus bring about a change in car design?

Aug 25, 2020

Will the coronavirus bring about a change in car design?

An unexpected consequence of the coronavirus is the influence it may have on future vehicle design as designers examine how they can respond to the threats posed by pandemics – for example, by developing germ-free car cabins to minimise the spread of infections.

Researchers are considering how materials such as copper could be used on frequent touch points and interior surfaces such as controls and handles to help limit the spread of infectious germs, resist viruses, and restrict continued infection rates.

Questioning whether cars could incorporate anti-viral coatings or ultraviolet light to sanitise them, and whether those that did would become more appealing to car buyers, makes for an interesting debate.

As car makers consider how, or even if, to continue plans for more shared transport in the future (such as the vision of shared e-scooters for the last part of the commute to work, or autonomous cars as places where people can gather socially) the possibility of long-term social distancing may have an impact on future car design.

As the ‘new normal’ incorporates new social and travel requirements, it may also have a long-term effect on our behaviour and on the types of vehicles we drive. It will be interesting to see whether this affects the future of how vehicles are designed for shared mobility.

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