Car designs that are way ahead into the future

Every now and then certain car designs and concepts are introduced into the market, that are way ahead into the future, to be accepted or rejected by the consumers. These designs hold significant importance in taking our perception of normal towards a more accepting and non-conservative direction.

New car designs either get rejected by the consumers or they pivot our design perception. Car designers and design engineers get sharp feedbacks on which way they need to go design-wise. The engineering and body designers can combine, thereafter, in a manner, that they are allowed to introduce new features and technologies without disappointing the consumers.

Here are few car designs that “were” and few that “are” in that borderline category:

Ford Model -T (1908)


The first car design ever to make it to the “assembly line”, that was devised by Henry Ford, was the Model T. A car that actually became an everyday thing due to its production volume. A car that was the reason we can buy the car of our choice today.

Though the Model T is not the first car to be produced, it’s hailed as one. Cars before the Model T were considered luxurious, made to order, and cost around $2000. Since 1904 ford had made half a dozen cars but none of them sold as much as the Model T. The Earlier models were not as reliable, durable and easily maintainable as the Model T.

Over the years the Model T has got awards for being “the most influential car of 20th century” and “the car of the century”, and rightly so. This is the car that changed history and gave rise to the Brass age.

Oldsmobile Rocket 88 (1949)

Although the title is highly disputed, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is widely considered the first muscle car. With its buffed body and huge size, the car demanded a strong presence.

Produced in 1949, the American muscle car designs started taking shape. The designs cared less about the aerodynamics and more about raw power. The car designs put on these set of muscle engines is still considered a timeless classic.

Volkswagen Beetle (1938)

Officially known as the Volkswagen Type 1, the car is one of the iconic cars of the 20th century. It was built for the common people, with a 5 person capacity (later reduced to 4). Believe it or not, but the foundation of this car and its functional properties were laid down by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler.

Drawn by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche in 1959 the 911 was among the top 5 “car of the century” cars. The engine was rear-mounted and the boot was made the front. The designs were made by Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche automobile.

Porsche 911(1963)

AHH!! The car that is probably known by anyone who is even a bit interested in cars. The Porsche 911 is a car that is loved by everyone. The iconic design was not the first in its segment but the first to make it popular. The 911 has gone through many iterations through the decades, yet has not changed its distinctive shape.

The iconic shape of the car can be seen even in the newer models of Porsche. Ferdinand Butzi Porsche

Lamborghini Miura (1966)

Hailed as the first supercar, the design of the Miura came from the stable of Lamborgini. Stirring up the super sports car category for road-legal cars, the Miura shook the car enthusiasts. Designed as a coupe, the car could turn heads of the poshest people on the road, due to its aggressive low stance styling.

The sleek look and a massively powerful engine made the car a favourite among the enthusiasts. The Miura was designed by Lamborghini’s engineering team, who developed the car in their spare time, against the wishes of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini.

Marcello Gandini was the designer from the Bertone automobile company, who designed the car for production. The Miura became the flagship of Lamborghini, that is, till the Countach arrived, which is a story for another day.

Tesla Model S (2012)

The Model S is that car that is considered the pivot of modern times and the car that has changed the perception of millions towards electric mobility. The Model S, that is purely electric, has range figures that competitive to the petrol counterpart. Technologically ahead and a “Feel -Good” car that has premium and classy written all over it.

Minimalist, clean, safe, aerodynamically superior and of course pure electric, this car has pushed the whole car industry to convert to electric mobility. The designer to thank for this elegant car is Franz von Holzhausen, Ex- Mazda designer.

The car has no front grill, which reduces drag and in turn introduces a new outlook for future car designs. The wheels are lighter and aerodynamically designed, even the mirrors are designed to reduce drag. The whole Designs speaks about a streamlined body design.

BMW Vision Next 100 (2019)

Taking a peek into the near future, BMW showed off their vision for the next 100 years of car designs with their Vision Next 100 concept. Unveiled in June of 2016 the car flaunts some pretty practical features.

The clean look, the minimalist design and autonomy of the car makes it a real contender for the title of the car of the future. The striking feature of the car is its wheel fenders that are merged with the bonnet. the fender expands into geometric triangles with a blood-red backlight, when the car turns.

They call it a car with a split personality. With two modes of driving, one being the “Boost” mode and the other “Ease” mode, it’s rightly called so. The Boost mode provides the driver with conventional interiors while the ease mode retracts the steering wheel and pushes the seats back for a more comfortable and autonomous driving experience. The whole windscreen is a Heads up display(HUD) which provides live feedbacks about the structures and landscapes around, kind of like a tour guide.

Merc-Benz Biome (2025)

Something that seems right out of a sci-fi movie, the Merc-Benz Biome not only obliterates our perception of car designs but also our grasp over the technology involved. The design is quite clean and natural yet at the borderline acceptance category.

What might hit you hard is the way it can be GROWN. Shocked? YES! you heard right! This car can be grown out of genetically altered biodegradable seeds put in a specially designed fluid. It is grown in a nursery with 4 seeds making different parts of the car.

Biome runs on a special fuel called the BioNectar4534. The car is supposed to take in carbon dioxide and burn the fuel, releasing water and oxygen. Cool as it sounds, we have to wait and see how much of the concept is actually practical enough to be on the road.

Being in the first quarter of the century and experiencing groundbreaking innovations in car designs gets our hopes really high for the future. There is no denying that cars have changed not only how we travel, but also how our society evolves. For some cars are a mode of transport, for some they are pieces of technology and yet for some they are a part of their culture.

There are many more who have created an impact in our society. What did we miss in this article? Comment below and let us know.

Introduction to Design Thinking

Design is everywhere.

It’s on the screen you’re reading this on. The touchscreen or trackpad (or a keyboard/mouse) you’re using to navigate this page.

It’s in the pen on your desk and the book beside it. The mug you sip your coffee from.

Most of the world’s top companies put design before anything else, and for a good reason. Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola and Tesla are all successful because of their design-led approach to tackle challenges.

That’s one of the major reasons why everyone wants to think like designers, even when the objective is not purely related to design. Design Thinking is at the core of building a sustainable and successful organization.  

So, what exactly is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking places the user at the centre. It’s a human-centred design process.

The focus is not only on how the product looks or makes one feel but how it’s used practically in everyday life.  

It was popularized by IDEO’s Tim Brown and David M. Kelley, and Roger Martin of the Rotman School.

Design Thinking focuses on finding a solution to complex problems by using direct observation, logic, intuition, imagination and reasoning. The desired outcome should ultimately benefit the end-user.

The same approach can be applied to systems, protocols, user experiences and even building an entire company.

The Design Thinking Process

Design thinking process: empathise, define, ideate, prototype, test

1. Empathise

Empathy is vital to know your users and care about them. It’s the foundation upon which you build everything else. If you don’t care about the end-user and how they’ll interact with your product or service, you might as well give it up now.

Empathising with your end-user will give you a fresh set of eyes which will help you learn more about them. It’ll also give you an idea about the context in which they’ll use your product or service.

How do you empathise with your end-user? You interview them and dig deeper into their lives. Observe, engage, watch and listen their every word and action. Pay attention particularly to the little details and try to look at everything they do from their point of view.

Once you’ve got this down, you have all the information you need to define the problem you’re solving.

2. Define

Only when you frame the right problem in the right manner can you arrive at the right solution.

The Define mode helps you bring clarity and focus to your design problem.

You’ve collected all the information you need and have empathised with your user. It’s now time to capture your findings and define a meaningful and actionable problem statement.     

The problem statement should be formulated such that it focuses on insights and needs of a particular user.  In simple terms, the Define mode is about making sense of all the information that’s in front of you.

3. Ideate

Once you’ve defined the specific challenge you’re taking on, you need to generate meaningful solutions to address that challenge.

If you’re stuck getting started, ask yourself “How-Might-We-….?” and then take it forward.

Brainstorming is one of the best ways to kick start idea generation. The group dynamics helps you build on others’ ideas to arrive at even better solutions.

In the Ideate mode, you try to come up with the broadest range of possibilities to tackle your challenge. Here, the goal is not to arrive at the final, best solution, but the only list down a wide variety of ideas. The more the number of ideas, the better.

This is where your imagination and creativity comes into play. Encourage everyone in your team to come up with new ideas.  While ideating, make sure to defer judgements and keep your critic inside you, suppressed. You can examine the merits of the ideas generated later.  

Ideation supplies the source material needed to build prototypes and innovate later on.    

Some of the most popular ways to ideate are noting down your rational thoughts, simple prototyping, bodystorming, mind-mapping and sketching.

4. Prototype

Bring multiple ideas from your ideation process into the Prototype mode. This is where you evaluate your ideas and filter down the best ones.

But how will you decide which ideas to choose and which ones to ignore? Select too many ideas and you’re left with a clutter. Leave out too many and you’re losing out on your innovation potential.

Choose a bunch of critical criteria to rate your ideas on and let your team decide which one’s are the best. Carry two or three ideas that get the most votes forward into the Prototyping stage.

You can also club a few ideas together if it’s possible. However, never forget about your insights gained during the Empathy mode and lose track of your end-user. It’s easy to get lost in your own ideas and grow an attachment towards them.

Once you and your team have agreed on the best ideas, it’s time to build a prototype. Your first prototype should be cheap and easy to make. Something which can elicit useful feedback. As your design challenge evolves with incoming inputs, the prototype can be refined too.  

So, what exactly is a prototype? It can be anything that you can interact with. Post-it notes, a storyboard, a simple gadget or even an activity. Anything that brings out emotions and responses from the user is a good bet.

You should make sure that every prototype you consider can be tested against a particular criterion.

Prototyping helps you to fail quickly and cheaply while testing a wide range of ideas and possibilities. It helps you break down a large problem into manageable chunks, simplifying the design challenge considerably.

5. Build

Building a prototype needs some materials to get started. Post-its, tape, paper, cardboard, and any other unused material lying around is enough.

It’s wise not to spend a lot of time and money on building a single prototype. Let go of it once you’ve accomplished what you want and move on to the next prototype idea.

Make sure to identify what you’re testing with each prototype. Every prototype you build should answer a question when tested. However, don’t ignore other understandings you gain from each prototype. Tangential learnings help you refine your prototypes later.  

That being said, always build the prototype with the end-user in mind. This will help you stay focused while creating the prototype.   

   

6. Test

Every prototype should be scrutinised and tested against the desired outcome. What those tests are and how to perform them with minimal errors is something that you should decide in advance, upon before building your prototype.

Test mode allows you to solicit feedback from your users and understand them better. It also lets you have another go at gaining empathy for the people you’re designing for.

Ask specific questions to your test users. If they like the prototype, ask them why they like it. If they don’t like it, ask them the same. This will help you gain insights about the person as well as develop potential solutions.

Here’s a quick tip: build your prototype assuming that it’s completely right, but test the prototype assuming that it’s totally wrong.  

Once you’ve done testing, share your solutions and get feedback.

You haven’t completed the process yet. In fact, this is just the beginning. You have to iterate the whole process multiple times until you’ve narrowed down the best possible solution to the design challenge you defined earlier.   

As you practice thinking like a designer, it’ll start to reflect in all your work, regardless of what you’re doing. Design Thinking will help you solve any challenge innovatively, efficiently and quickly.

Start early by encouraging your kid’s designing affinity. Must-Reads: How to Encourage Your Kid to Be a Designer

Sketching: Why is it important?

Product design is a process that progresses from an idea to reality in stages.

Whether you’re designing a simple tool or a complex automobile, it all starts with an idea. And what’s the best way (and the fastest) to put down your idea on a paper?

You sketch it out.

To sketch is to design.

Sketching is an important aspect of product design and development. However, not many designers pay to sketch the respect it deserves. It’s just an afterthought.

There’s a lot of back and forth that happens between the various design stages. As the idea matures and needs refinement, sketching can become an invaluable part of your job as a designer.

Put ideas quickly on paper.

Charting down ideas immediately on paper is the most efficient way to evaluate them and see whether they’re worth exploring further.

It only takes a few seconds to sketch your idea. If you’re not satisfied with it, you can refine it or move on to the next idea immediately. Plus, it’s a great feeling to get the idea out of your head and have it on paper.

READ: How to encourage your kid to be a designer


Great for brainstorming and collaboration.

It’s natural for a group to lose focus and become disillusioned when you first present your design concept. Communicating what’s in your head with just words is extremely difficult, especially when you’re trying to put forward a visual idea. Sketching helps you to convey your design ideas to everyone in a simple manner.

Furthermore, sketches from team members can be reviewed and compared to consolidate the best ideas. Based on the features required, these ideas can be further refined to select the best design for your product.

 

It saves time.

Sketching saves a lot of time. Your first idea is rarely the best one. Thus, if you need to revise your sketch, it only takes a few seconds to update it or draw a new one. Doing the same on a computer may take hours, if not more.

Moreover, it’s a quick way to get client feedback and move ahead with a mutually accepted idea.  The more time you save deciding on an idea, the better you can refine it further. It’s all a matter of prioritizing, and sketching helps you with that immensely.   

It’s easy and fun.

Sketching is for everyone. It’s a universal language which everyone can understand. Anyone can sketch ideas and become involved with the product design process. A few basic shapes, lines, arrows, and stick figures are all you need to get started with sketching. Once you discover how easy and enjoyable it is, you won’t ever look back!

Sketching is a powerful communication tool.

Complex design problems are hard to solve without fleshing out the intricate details. Sketching helps you resolve them by fishing out the best ideas. That’s one of the major reasons why sketching will always remain an important aspect of product design and development.

If you have any experiences with sketching within the product design process, please share them with the Launchpad community.

Electric scooters that you can buy right now

Electric is the future! Dread it, Run from it Destiny arrives all the same.

Electric scooters

As it turns out facts overpower emotions in the end. Doesn’t matter how much you love your petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, the shift to alternate power sources remains inevitable. As the abuse of Fossil fuels, since the industrial revolution, has made it a scarce, hence an expensive commodity as well as a threat to the environment.

A near solution to the problem of air pollution is battery-powered vehicles aka EVs. They are silent, cause no pollution and are inexpensive in the long run, as there is no fuel costs. Among the growing choices of EVs in the market right now, here are few that you can buy right away:

Bajaj : Chetak

The scooter is meant to have a premium experience.

Bajaj Motors today inaugurated the Chetak. A scooter that holds fond memories to most of our childhood rides. Built with metal, this scooter is termed by bajaj as a premium scooter, and quite rightly so. The buttons are replaced with switches, and man does it feel premium. The plethora of features includes keyless start, full led setup, soft close systems and much more.

Performance figures show that this scooter can reach a top speed of 90 kmph in the sports mode with a range of 80-85 km while the eco mode can push the bike up to 95-100 km on a single charge.

check them out here.

Ather: 340

Alt Text!

Being the most talked-about startup since last few years, Ather is surely pulling some right strings. Punchy acceleration, with a 5 kW peak power from the motor results in some crispy ride through the city traffic. Designed to stand out among the crowd, the scooter doesn’t disappoint in providing the performance it is expected to give.

Sprinting from 0-40 kmph in just 3.9 seconds this scooter can well pass any scooter in the traffic. And, with AtherGrid popping out here and there in the city, A 70-85 km range on a city scooter is by far not a bad deal.

Check them out here.

Hero Electric: Photon

Being one of the most trusted brands in the Indian market, the hero electric group came out with a bunch of fun and well-designed scooter. The esthetics does not disappoint, as well as the performance. Being a city scooter the photon does its job well. From an aerodynamic body design to providing a 3-year worry-free warranty the scooter has you covered.

Designed to run in an urban landscape, the photon can reach a top speed of 45 kmph and a range of 80 km/charge.

Check it out here.

Ampere: Zeal




Highlighting their chassis lightness, the Ampere zeal sure makes the logic-heads turn their attention to it. As promoted by the manufacturers, the scooter is supposed to be “30 kg lighter than conventional scooters”, resulting in an impressive weight number of 78 kg kerb weight.

This sure shows up in how the scooter handles and performs. It has a range of 78 km/Charge, reaching top speeds of 60 kmph. Features like, a portable battery, tubeless tyres, fully digital instrument panel and led lights to complete the package.

Check it out here.

Yo Bykes: EDGE

The fresh new look to the scooter does make you ask,” YO! wassup?.” Yo bykes have been there for as long as I can remember about electric vehicles. They were among the firsts to get people excited about electric scooters for the daily commute. The Yo EDGE, with its refreshing new look does make one buy one while giving a tough competition to their newer competitions.

With a top speed of 25 kmph, guess what? NO LICENCE! NO REGISTRATION! Over that, a range of 70 km per charge can easily put this bike on top of the list for buyers who want a city scooter that offers no-nonsense riding.

Check them out here.

Okinawa: Praise

Praise it all you want, cuz that claimed 170-200 km range is insanely impressive. Though Okinawa claims that the tests are done in ideal conditions, the real-life range is not what it should be, but still impressive. Running a 1 kW motor that peaks at 2.5 kW to push the bike up to 70 kmph top speed.

With the price points being equally impressive, this scooter brand has made its presence felt all over the country with its numerous outlets all over India.

Check them out here.

22kymco: iFlow

The scooter brand, that made headline last year with its 160 km promised range, swappable batteries and an insane 90 Nm torque at 100 RPM. The 22 motor’s iFlow boasts of AI-driven scooter functions and other features like smooth acceleration, premium built quality and IoT. 22 motors in partnership with KYMCO motors, Taiwan has made the iFlow a pretty well-built scooter.

The release dates for the scooter was supposed to be September 2019, yet we have to wait to get news of the event.

Check them out here.

Pure EV: E Pluto

Granting a 120 km absolute range, that is more than sufficient for any city rider, the ePluto presents us with some beautiful design for a scooter. The scooter is yet to arrive in the market carries a massive 2 kWh battery pack, coupled with a lightweight chassis makes the scooter a product to wait for.

“With a top speed of 35 kmph, it does 0-25 kmph in 4 seconds and we will enhance the top speed to 45 kmph in the coming year,” says Mr Rohit Vadera, CEO, Pure EV.


With the scooter itself claimed to weigh around 45 kg, this product is sure to intrigue us with its 80km claimed range.

Check them out here.

With the coming EV rush, it’s just exciting to watch newer technology being implemented to entice the general public to take up electric mobility as their primary mode of transport. We only hope that the future of EVs is exciting and as feel-good as the present mode of 2 wheel travel is right now(or more).

How to Encourage Your Kid to Be a Designer

“I want to design cars when I grow up”

“I want to make rockets when I grow up.”

Being a designer is the ambition of many children. Given the proliferation of technology in our everyday lives, it’s not surprising that many choose to tread this path.

From social media and animated movies to mobile games and apps, children are exposed to design in every facet of their lives these days. The inspiration to be a designer can come from any place.  As a dutiful parent, it’s your job to make them realize their ambitions and help them find out whether designing is really apt for them.

Unlike science and maths, which are the prerequisites for getting into engineering or medicine fields, designing is mostly a creative venture. It cannot be quantified by raw knowledge or the marks you score in any given subject.

The first step to help your kid become a designer is to identify whether they’re really interested in design.

So, how exactly do you go about doing that?

It’s simple. You notice whether they like drawing or building things and are inclined towards solving problems. Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to encourage your kid to embrace design. Just like with any other skill, it must be honed and perfected through practice. This is where you can play an important role.  

Here are a few tips for you:

1.Teach them how to draw

Drawing is one of the most essential skills to be a designer. Unfortunately, most kids, even those who’re interested in drawing, never move past their first attempt. That’s ‘cause it may seem difficult initially.

Luckily, there are many amazing things that can be drawn very easily. And there are numerous online tutorials to teach the same. With your help and support, your kid will learn how to draw basic shapes and objects in no time.    

2. Give them more freedom to explore

Don’t pressure your kid to be a designer. Give him/her the freedom to explore the field on their own terms. If they’re happy just colouring and painting, let them be. Some kids may prefer playing with Legos. That’s OK too.

Creativity has no bounds. As long as your kid is creating stuff – no matter what – they’re being creative. Your responsibility as a parent and as a teacher is to play a supportive role. Be their anchor!     

3. Inspire them to learn

Provide your kid with subtle inspirations in their environment. Maybe you can leave comic books lying around your house and see whether he/she likes to read it. Sketching and colouring books are a good idea too.

Or you can try watching an inspiring documentary with them. Even visiting a zoo, museum or planetarium is inspiring for kids. The choices are aplenty.

However, inspiration without the right tools is a dud. Kids also need access to good pens, pencils, books and any other instruments to channel their creativity. Give them that. Though, don’t go overboard with them.

4. Lead by examples

Don’t just order them to draw something. One of the major reason so many kids hate studying is that they are forced excessively to do so. Lead by example, teach them how to recreate their imagination on paper, teach them the importance of communication via art.

5. Design schools

Every parent is able to invite some level of creativity in their child. But, in case you have reached your limit or are unable to organise their learning process, do consider enrolling them in a good design school. Enrollment can be done either offline or online, depending on how your child feels comfortable.

Here are some reasons why you should consider an online course: 5 Reasons to Join Online Courses in India

If your child is comfortable with learning online “Launchpad Academy” offers counselling and some of the best courses in the country. Also, it’s one of the few institutes that network with some of the best-known designers in the country.

6. Show them “what could be” and teach them “how to”

Show them what could be achieved if they learn to design their ideas on paper and teach them how to do it. Show them what has been created by the designers in the world around us, and how they have impacted our lives.

Only when your kid knows the what, why and how of designing, will you be able to make them willingly take up the subject.

7. Make it a habit

Persistence is the key to achieve anything that you desire. Kids learn by repetition, hence keep reminding them to practice until it becomes there habit. Just like good handwriting, a good design can only come from someone who practices enough.

Read this article to learn about the good habits of a successful designer: 7 Habits of Successful Designers

Designing is a highly competitive field. Prepare your kid to work hard and put in a lot of effort. Once your kid has got that down, it’s a breeze to realise his/her dream of becoming a designer.

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