Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Making Good Use of Available Space

As I was picking up supplies to build a mezzanine over the office space in our office today, I began to focus on how important it is to make the same use of available space when it comes to automotive design.

One such example I like (although not of high importance to me when buying a car) is placing an umbrella holder in the door liner alla Bentleys or the VW pictured below. Not only have they made use of wasted space, but the positioning makes sense - it's where you need it to be when getting out of the car in a downpour, rather than rolling around the back seat or in the trunk.

The same applies for the thought to integrate a first aid kit and where to place it secondly, in the Nissan Xterra. If you're out camping, blazing some trails or need to patch up one of the kids after soccer practice, you're probably going to open the hatch, have your patient sit in the back and perform the necessary first aid right there, so having it in the rear hatch is a good place to have it as opposed to in the glove box let's say.

One of the features I'm not really keen on is the use of flip down tv's and speakers in the back of a vehicle. As an aftermarket mod, if that's your thing, than go ahead, but I never thought I'd see a set of flip down speakers available right off the production floor as in some of the new Jeep "Crossover" cars like the Compass and the Patriot. I've never really been one to use my car as a stereo, but maybe in today's world of mp3 players and iPods, this is a feature people want? I'd be interested to know how many people have been sold on these vehicles due to such features.

I can see the first aid kit being a part of the Local Motors vehicle, but the others I think we can do without.

One thing that I think would not only be cool, but fits the ethos of the vehicle would be an integrated tool kit, or maybe even a storage box. Maybe it could be in the rear hatch (if an SUV) or under the bed if it's a truck, like done in the Honda Ridgeline.

Or, to take things a step further, maybe even have an off-road Segway folded up and stored under the bed for those tight trails!

One thing is for sure - we'll have to really spend some time evaluating how our customers will be using their vehicles, and what features like this they will benefit from most, and how/where we can place them in the vehicle.


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