The software-defined car has become a running meme for the auto industry over the last few years. Each new car is presented as a way to create ongoing revenue streams with drivers. A new EV startup is taking the meme, er, car, up another notch with a computer-defined car built around a state-of-the-art gaming computer.
The Indi One
The car, the Indi One, is a mash-up of the vibrant Los Angeles car culture, the growing gaming subculture in town and the pervasive Hollywood entertainment industry. The company behind the car is Indi EV, which has spent the past four years designing and engineering a compact crossover with a vehicle integrated computer (VIC) capable of allowing livestreaming and the possibility of capturing images through its five high-definition cameras that can be edited and uploaded from inside
With a look reminiscent of the BMW i3, but with a significant LA vibe in its color palette, the Indi One announced its first reservations at the recent New York Auto Show. Instagram influencer Yena Kim of Menswear Dog and Global Green USA CEO William Bridge are first in line. IndieEV head of design Andre Hudson, who’s had stints with General Motors and Hyundai, told Innovation & Tech Today that he expects deliveries to start a year from now. He added that the car will be assembled in the U.S. at a yet-to-be-disclosed plant.
The five-passenger Indi One will come in two trim levels and nine colors. The basic single motor rear-drive model will be available in one color — Pacific Pearl (white). Its motor will produce 275 horsepower (hp) and make 0-60 mph runs in about 6.75 seconds, according to IndieEV. The retail price will be $45,000, which is in line with several other new EV models of varying specs. The range is 240-250 miles, according to Hudson.
The high-end AWD model has two motors (475 hp), a bigger battery pack, eight color choices, the VIC setup, and an estimated 300 miles of range. It will retail for $69,000.
It’s All About the Details
Both models sit on oversized tires (with 21- or 22-inch rims) with three screens for the front seats — a 12-inch driver cluster and two 15-inch displays. The far right display is the passenger/gamer’s realm, capable of running AAA/VR/AR games. In the premium model the gaming setup is driven off a separate Windows computer, while the middle display that shows the vehicle’s functions and entertainment system uses a Linux base. The setup will also include a software development kit so third-party developers can create their own games and apps for the setup.
Hudson wasn’t willing to talk about the company financing other than to say it was privately funded — at this point primarily from a single individual. A little digging explained some of the gaming/automotive crossover; the individual listed as founder of the company is Shi Hai, a gaming industry veteran. It looks like another long shot, but it could be a fun one to test drive if you’re a gamer. ■