What you’re looking at probably isn’t the future, but it’s a vision of what might be possible if design students from IED Turin take the reins of automobile design departments of the future.
Like all good (and plenty of not-so-good) concept cars, the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED or European Institute of Design) Tracy concept dispenses with the notion of boundaries and limitations imposed by regulations and series production and gives a glimpse of what could be possible.
In this instance, that ‘could be’ imagines a mobility solution capable of seating up to six passengers in a compact pod, giving it rugged all-terrain capabilities, and playing up the packaging benefits of its electric vehicle hardware.
Originally destined for display at the Geneva motor show, the cancellation of that event has restricted Tracy to the online realm, for now at least.
Tracy boasts a set of rather unusual dimensions. At just 3740 mm from nose to tail, the people pod of the future is 205mm shorter than Australia’s most popular light car, the Toyota Yaris, but 145mm longer than the nation’s favourite micro car, the Kia Picanto.
On the other hand, a 2890mm wheelbase means there’s almost as much space between the axles as a seven-seat Nissan Pathfinder, with Tracy only 10mm behind.
Width and height are outlandish for a ‘compact car’, too: at 2205mm wide it occupies more lane space than the just launched Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck (by 142mm) and its 2083mm height makes it 93mm taller than a Toyota HiAce van.
European as the design may be, there’s every chance it’ll be too wide for some of the more narrow alleyways found in the back blocks of Italian cities, making it all the more surprising for a vehicle penned in Turin.
With zero front or rear overhang, Tracy is completely dedicated to passenger hauling, although interior renders show a curious layout inside with a regular driver’s seat, a pair of formed-in rear bucket seats and a pair of what appear to be chaise lounge style seats to accommodate the remaining three passengers, accessed via asymmetrical doors.
While it’s electric, Tracy isn’t autonomous, so a human takes care of the driving. Passengers face inwards rather than forwards “to investigate new modes of shared transport, proposing a solution that can also leave the urban context... promoting a new sense of sharing and mobility extended to even unconventional scenarios,” according to an IED statement.
Luggage space appears to have been a low priority, so while it may be all terrain capable, pack light. You’ll be squeezing your luggage into soft front and rear bags mounted on the vehicle externally.
To highlight the pod’s robustness front a rear exo-frame roll hoops protect the passenger cell.
The battery is stowed beneath the floor and drive is sent to all four wheels, though the Master’s students of Transportation Design at IED – a collective team from India, China, Taiwan and Italy – don’t describe the motors or expected driving range.