When you think of Pininfarina, you likely picture a shape like this:
And certainly not this:
But yes, the legendary styling company has turned their designers onto this square, slow (top speed 37 mph) form factor for client Benteler Group, a German automotive engineering and technology powerhouse. Benteler has created a new brand, Holon, which aims to bring this autonomous EV people-mover to the masses.
"The vehicle catches the eye with an asymmetrical design that combines maximum functionality with high recognition value. The vehicle has been designed with a generous spatial concept for up to 15 passengers, thereby closing the gap between personal and public transport concepts. The comfortable, subtly offset seating arrangement provides a sense of privacy while meeting all safety requirements."
"'The vehicle design combines two character traits – friendly and inviting as well as technologically advanced and clear. That goes for both the exterior and interior. It immediately makes the HOLON mover a design icon,' explains Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of the renowned Italian design company Pininfarina. "Every detail of the vehicle is designed to make passengers feel more comfortable and safer than in any other mode of transportation."
"HOLON is pursuing the goal of allowing everyone to benefit equally from the freedoms offered by mobility. The mover is therefore designed from the ground up to be inclusive. Electric double-wing doors with photo-electric sensors and an automatically extending ramp with lowering function are included as standard for barrier-free access. The automatic securing of wheelchairs inside the vehicle combines comfort with safety. Information in Braille and an audiovisual guide provide additional support for visually impaired people during the journey."
It would be nice if they included some images of the interior, but this is all we've got.
The initial pilot project featuring the vehicles is scheduled to run in Hamburg, maintained by mass transit company HochBahn. In the 'States a mobility company called Beep will be implementing the vehicles, though no concrete plans were announced at press time.
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They have drive handed the entire vehicle. So for the UK for example, it would need a totally different body!
Looks pretty symmetrical, could probably just make the other end the front.