So ugly only a designer could love it

It’s the Venturi Eclectic and well maybe it’s sorta cute in a moon buggy sort of way although it does also look a bit like the Amish buggy redesigned. We’re posting it as a bit of a more serious footnote to our last post.

After being despised and vandalised by politicians for decades, mass public transport systems are in for a big revival real soon and the question of individual transport is also due for an overhaul. Only the soon-to-be-bankrupt big car manufacturers (like Ford) think that a few quick mods will solve the problem. Increasingly there is realisation that the whole mass transit meme is up for massive redesign and only parts of the existing infrastructure can be adaptively reused (for transport, that is, all those highways will make desperately needed public space and nature corridors when filled with soil and planted out eg The High Line)

There will still be a need for individual vehicles, however and even the Segway may have a place there alongside the bicycle – not everyone is physically capable of pedalling everywhere.

And the Eclectic is probably a good indicator of the new breed of vehicle.

Eclectic, the first autonomous vehicle in the history of the automobile, opens up a new era in the field of mobility: reserved for daily driving in urban areas, its low energy consumption makes it the most economical environmental vehicle ever built. Innovative and astonishing, Eclectic is much more than a simple vehicle; it is a production and storage plant for renewable energies, either solar or wind based. Charging of these energies, which is intermittent in certain regions, can also be complemented by electrical recharging.

Like climate change itself, (which is happening exponentially faster than you thought) it’s all happening fast.

Production of 20 pre-series vehicles has commenced. A limited version of 200 vehicles with specific equipment will be launched in June 2007 (colour : white) at a price of 24,000 € plus VAT (excluding State subsidies of 2,000 €). A higher level of production should see the light of day as from 2009 at an estimated base price of 15,000 € plus VAT (excluding State subsidies of 2,000 €). Eclectic targets two different markets: that of companies wanting to adopt an environment-conscious stance and that of a very avant-garde public at the top end of the range. A single-seater utilitarian version will also complement this production.

On the down side, it’s probably grimly realistic of them to present a police version in their publicity, given that the developed nations’ slide into fascism will probably get worse before it gets better as climate induced chaos breaks out.

And just in case you think that’s going a bit far and if you think some of the predictions are getting more and more hysterical read that linked Independent article again. I quote:

How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes.

And just remember, right now Big Brother is driving you.

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