Car

Bangle’s Back: The Redspace REDS Is a Cyberpunk People Pod

It’s a spot of madness, this machine, as if Frank Rinderknecht had engineered a hookup between a phone booth and a golf cart at a ’90s rave somewhere on the outskirts of propriety. It makes a bit of sense, then, that former BMW design chief Chris Bangle is involved. The vehicle is called the REDS, a backronym coined by Bangle and defined by Redspace CEO Wang Jinan as standing for Revolutionary Electric Dream Space. Let 100 electric daisies bloom, dudes.

Redspace itself is a part of the Wang-helmed China Hi-Tech Group Corporation, one of the many concerns diving into the Middle Kingdom’s electrified future, but the company’s take on what a small-footprint electric-drive vehicle could be is rather more radical than simply adding a battery pack to a sedan or a hatch and calling it good. Redspace has yet to provide performance figures for the ungainly bot box, but specs seem to be beside the point, anyway. The REDS is all about what goes on when the car is stopped.

The steering wheel flips up beyond vertical, getting it out of the way of the occupants. The front seats swivel to face the rear passengers, turning the diminutive auto into a cozy conference center. Those same seats also fold up into footstools. A 17-inch screen, which largely retracts into the dash while on the go—it sticks up just enough to house the offset gauges—pops up to allow the viewing of films, or, we presume, psychedelic displays to enhance whatever you might be consuming while plopped down on what Bangle refers to as the car’s rear “love seat.”

At a mere 117 inches in overall length, the REDS is nearly three feet shorter than a Mini Cooper Hardtop. Put another way, its wheelbase is said to be 19.7 inches shorter than that of a Fiat 500. It is said to be made of aluminum, and it features a weird abstract map on the ceiling. What’s on display at the Los Angeles auto show is very clearly a prototype, its odd gaps lending it more of a movie-prop feel than the vibe of an actual car. Oh, and that half-conical, forward-canted windshield? Aside from making room for the forward-tipped steering wheel, it’s said to reduce the interior greenhouse effect. It’s hard to look at the REDS and see anything but a human-swallowing pill meant to brighten up some strange and claustrophobic dystopia. Which, given the day and age, might just be what some of us need.


2017 L.A. Auto Show Full Coverage
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