Over the past few years, the automobile industry has been keen on innovating and working towards self-driving cars, with manufacturers, developers, and designers constantly reevaluating their priorities and objectives. Nonetheless, the focus is less on the technology or the commuting experience and more on well-being and sustainability.
It seems that in terms of sustainability, the vision is incomplete, as the technologies and luxuries of these cars would translate to even higher carbon emissions and waste. They might run on green energy, but the materials and resources used to build these cars might still be harmful to the environment.
A new concept, AKXY2, seems to aim to go the extra mile to envision a car that is sustainable, satisfying, and also social.
AKXY2, short for “Asahi Kasei x You 2,” is a future mobility concept that makes sustainability one of the three core pillars of its design. The vehicle runs on electricity rather than fuel, and its interior is designed using materials that are made from recycled PET bottles, other wastes, or plant-derived substances. Asahi Kasei already has a floor mat made from plant-derived materials and is reportedly better than PET fibers. As for the surface coating, which has the severest impact on the environment, the concept will switch to a more sustainable and environment-friendly alternative.
Aside from sustainability, AKXY2 concept puts the convenience and comfort of passengers at the forefront. Inside and out, the car concept embodies the new priorities that the pandemic has caused throughout the world. Sanitation and anti-microbial materials have become a key feature in many new products, and this car will have them on many of its surfaces. According to Yanko Design, “People have also realized the importance of social connections, even if just being able to see other people out in the world. So rather than enclose passengers in an opaque capsule, the AKXY2 employs a transparent dome that lets people easily see the world and people outside”.
The AKXY2’s design resembles a boat more than it does a car, with a “bubble” that exposes riders to the outside world while still keeping them safe inside that zone. The car’s cabin design, as well as the way it opens up, is almost similar to a trailer with a picnic setup. Rather than a vehicle that is simply used to transport people and keep isolated groups within their own islands, Asahi Kasei envisions a future where cars connect people not only to each other but also to the world they live in.