We caught up with 31-year old Shijie Yu, a transportation designer based in Los Angeles, whose Range Rover ‘Nouvel’ electric car project is making homepage news on leading automotive portals this month. Here’s Yu taking us through the design and features:
Exterior & Interior:
This is a personal project during my study. My initial idea is to design the next-generation Range Rover that is specifically designed for younger buyers. Right now, the current Range Rover models target buyers above 40 years old, but since younger people can afford more now, I thought how to attract the younger buyers, especially people between 30 to 40 years old. Those people have different social roles; they mainly drive the car to work, and they would go to a party or a game afterwards. My idea was to make a car like a wardrobe that they can change their attire for different occasions more easily.
My project is more about the interior. I want to really think about the interior space and functions according to the buyers’ needs. But for the exterior, I still want to try to keep the Range Rover DNA on the exterior design. For the front part of the design, I was inspired by the first generation of Range Rover because if you could see the current Range Rover, the headlight layout is actually horizontal. But if you look at the first generation, they have a round headlamp, and there’s a vertical layout besides. I think the round headlight is too strong and doesn’t offer a premium feel in this kind of car. I didn’t use the round headlight but captured the vertical layout of the first generation.
For the side view, I wanted to keep it clean for the side surface, but you can still see it’s a Range Rover and the bigger wheels make the car stronger, robust and more capable. To make it more premium and elegant, it also has a nice chrome decoration on the side. I wanted to copy the front for the rear part; so the tail light is similar to the headlight layout.
Powertrain and performance:
To be honest, because I focused on the design part, I didn’t think too much about the powertrain. But I do have a basic idea about the dimensions, the number of motors and how much power it generates. Basically, this car is going to be a little bit shorter than the Range Rover we have currently; about 10 cm shorter in length but it’s almost the same width; height-wise, it’s 4 cm lower to make it sleeker and more dynamic.
For the range, I targeted around 563 km range for the battery. I want to use two electric motors, one in the front and one in the rear to make it an all-wheel-drive. The power it generates, I would say it would be 245 kW for each motor.
The target group of the ‘Nouvel’:
As I said, I want to target people around 30 to 40 years old. I also expect the kind of people who wants to buy this car have a varied lifestyle with lots of hobbies; they would also be hard-working, very successful people with an excellent income to afford a Range Rover. Also, the overall design is very customer based. I designed the car for the modern gentleman or women. They are wealthy but also well educated; they attend different social activities, especially the British, who really care about their dressing for different occasions. They dress formally for work; after work, they would want to dress casually, or they could go to see a game of football or to play; so they can use this car and change in it rather than going back home to do it. Basically, I want to try to make their life more convenient and more comfortable with this car.
On the next-generation Range Rover:
Electrification is a big part in the next-generation Range Rover program. The Tata Group-owned Land Rover is likely to unveil its new flagship SUV series in late-2021. The company is developing a ‘Road Rover’ pure-electric SUV on the same platform as the new Jaguar J-Pace electric SUV and the pure-electric Jaguar XJ sedan.