In order to make up for the shortcomings in design, Chinese vehicle brands have begun to invite foreign designers to be design directors. Among the many design directors, the most prestigious is the Japanese Ken Okuyama. Many of the fans’ totem-like models such as Honda NSX and Ferrari ENZO are from his handwriting. Mr. Ken Okuyama’s latest work is the concept car of China’s new EV brand AIWAYS U7 ion. It was released at the just-opened 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. Let’s take a look at it what the future electric vehicles looks like in the eyes of the design master Ken Okuyama.
Since the birth of AIWAYS brand, AIWAYS Auto has launched AIWAYS U5, which is almost ready in mass production, and the super run Gumpert Nathalie, which is used to demonstrate the technical strength. At the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, AIWAYS Auto released their third model: the U7 ion concept car, it is a 6/7-seat pure electric crossover model.
Official described U7 ion is an ideal terminal to create new smart travel for the future that car integrates AI smart technology.
AIWAYS U7 ion has a minimalist style in appearance which is similar to AIWAYS U5, and their front faces have many similarities: a simple large face with delicate headlight set.
The U7 ion has full LED light sets, aside the headlight set, there is a camera-like device, in fact, this device is not a camera, but a projection device that can project traffic signals such as zebra crossings in front of the car to achieve interaction with pedestrians and vehicles. In addition, the LED light sets can also send different signals through different flash rhythms.
The bar-style LED light strips that connect the left and right headlights are the latest popular elements, and we can find similar designs on many concept cars at the auto show.
The U7 ion features a two-tone body design that is a bit more stylish and dynamic than the traditional MPV.
More than half of the new concept cars now replace the traditional exterior mirrors with cameras, and AIWAYS U7 ION is no exception, the main purpose is to reduce windage.
The same is to reduce the wind resistance and enhance the overall look of the exterior, U7 ion also uses a hidden door handle, or, it doesn’t actually have a door handle. The picture shows a touch button and it doesn’t pop up to provide a manual turn-on function.
The shape of the rear is very full, and the bar-style taillights once again cater to the current trend.
Although it’s positioned in the family car, and the overall design is relatively simple, but in the details, U7 ion uses a lot of sporty design, such as the double grille tail in the upper part of the car, and the diffuser at the bottom of the car.
U7 ion has a suicide door, and the designers of the major car companies once again coincide, the international giants such as Audi and Volkswagen, as well as some Chinese new EV brands such as Leapmotor and Enovate Motors, have launched their concept car with suicide doors at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show.
The interior of the U7 ion also adopts a minimalist style. Its biggest feature is the richness of technology elements, and the space has a lot of changes to deal with different usage scenarios. For example, there is a very large central armrest or console between the main and co-pilot, which can be separated and moving, after separation, the rear half can be slid to the second row or the third row, in which various functions such as a small table or a refrigerator is integrated.
The seat of the U7 ion is also “tricky”, in which the driver’s seat can be rotated, the seat will be automatically turned round to the driver when driver opens the door, which is convenient for the driver to enter and exit; the central part of the backrest of front passenger seat can be folded forward, so that the second row passengers can rest their feet.
According to the official, U7 ion’s central control screen can be moved up and down, touchable, as well as foldable, however, we have not yet felt the mystery.
The comfort of the second row seats are very good, with leg rests for the passengers to fully relax. In addition, we can see that the rear half of the console (armrest) has slid to the second row and provided a small table for the second row passengers.
The U7 ion’s second row seats can be rotated 180 dgree, allowing the rear two rows of passengers to communicate face to face.
Another very special place of U7 ion is the “smart robot” under the roof that can move back and forth. It can automatically judge and respond to the sound source in time, and move forward or backward to meet the voice interaction between the passengers and the car, and also realize the interaction between the front and rear passengers, this is another innovation in the voice interaction assistant.
The design of AIWAYS U7 ion is remarkable, and it is even more brilliant in terms of technology, although it is a forward-looking concept car, it takes a long time to put into mass production, but many of its whimsy may soon be applied to production models.
AIWAYS means AI ON THE WAYS, this is the moral of AIWAYS AUTO gives for AIWAYS brand, means deep cultivate the core technologies on both electrical driving system & AI two core, dedicating to making life better.
AIWAYS Auto’s slogan is “AI With You”, AIWAYS Auto has its headquarters and technical center in Shanghai China, and a wholly-owned subsidiary AIWAYS Gumpert Co., Ltd. in Germany, Mr. Roland Gumpert, the inventor of Audi quattro, is the executive director of the German subsidiary, AIWAYS has also a forward-looking technical laboratory in Detroit, USA. AIWAYS has successively built R&D and manufacturing infrastructures such as Shangrao Automobile Manufacturing Base, Shanghai Jiading Technology Center and Changshu Battery Pack Factory.
AIWAYS Auto Co-founder and President: Fu Qiang
Rooted in the car circle for nearly 30 years, is an old car marketer. He has promoted the development of FAW-Volkswagen Audi brand and SAIC Volkswagen Skoda brand in China in the early stage; led the transformation of Mercedes-Benz’s marketing system in China; and served as the president and CEO of Volvo China Sales Co., Ltd., promoting Volvo’s brand and sales development in China.
AIWAYS Auto Co-founder and CEO: Gu Feng
Co-founder Gu Feng has been in the car circle for more than 20 years, dealing with financial management and capital operations. According to resources, Gu Feng has rich theoretical and practical experience in state-owned assets reform, securities market operations, mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he has been also responsible for the development of SAIC’s financial sector business, with rich financial resources.
In 2015, Foxconn and Tencent Holdings jointly created Future Mobility with a total investment of 1 billion yuan to engage in business of new energy vehicle. First established is Future Mobility Corp (FMC), Dai Lei(Dr. Daniel Kirchert) and Bi Fukang(Dr. Carsten Breitfeld) are the executives, then formed another company named AICHE, Fu Qiang is the CEO.
At the end of 2016, Fu Qiang got the investment of Tencent, he brought his team of AICHE company and formed a new company, that is AIWAYS Auto. FMC is the current the BYTON AUTO, AICHE becomes the AIWAYS
On October 30, 2016, AIWAYS AUTO established its production base in Shangrao, Jiangxi;
In January 2017, former SAIC CFO Gu Feng joined AIWAYS Auto as co-founder and CEO;
In August 2017, Roland Gumpert announced that he has joined AIWAYS Auto, as the chief product officer CPO, and the general manager of the German subsidiary AIWAYS Gumpert;
On November 29, 2018, AIWAYS’s first production car AIWAYS U5 made its debut;
On March 5, 2019, AIWAYS Auto brought its first mass-produced A+ class intelligent pure electric SUV AIWAYS U5 and the world’s first track-class electric sports car Gumpert Nathalie at the Geneva International Auto Show.