Italy is driving innovation in a number of fields: from design to new technologies, from sustainability to renewable energy. The latest addition to the list of game-changing Italian innovation is a new model of electric car, designed by 13 students from the European Design Institute in Turin. The prototype, which goes by the quirky name of Tomo (the Japanese for “friend”), is produced by Honda and was designed mostly for urban and leisure use.
Tomo: the electric car for the new generation
The intended target for this new car has much in common with the team that designed it: this is a car for young urban creatives and professionals, that value a user-friendly interface in their car just as much as they value it in their electronic devices. Tomo stands out among electric cars because it overcomes the traditional city-car look to incorporate elements of a coupé and a small pick-up. Which is remarkable, considering that the whole prototype doesn’t reach 4 metres in length.
It’s all about the UX
The first thing that catches the driver’s attention, when sitting in a Tomo for the first time, is the amount of space that is occupied by screens and displays. The overall look and feel of this car owe much to the sci-fi idea of what a futuristic vehicle should be and it departs significantly from the concept of “interface” that is implemented in traditional cars. The interiors are comfortable and modern, with just the right amount of hi-tech. Even the dashboard is relatively simple, compared to some other popular models by Honda. Again, this has much to do with the car’s intended target. The Tomo driver is young and not remotely interested in showing off their car as a status symbol, to signify power or wealth. They are, however, keen on making a statement by their choice of transportation, expressing a commitment to sustainability, and awareness of environmental issues and a sufficient grasp of technology. They are able to appreciate a sleek user interface, but they also want their vehicle to be practical, effective and attractive.
Italian universities are peaks of European excellence
This project is but one in a series of examples that show how Italian universities are peaks of excellence and innovation. Despite the climate of general uncertainty, these institutions are proving remarkably consistent in maintaining their focus on developing skills and knowledge that our future societies are going to need.