Budget Airline Car - A new type of car design that could kill the short haul flight

A design concept for a large super-efficient low-cost electric car that could be a sustainable alternative to the short-haul flight — an example of how truly new types of car design could better meet the needs of life in the mid-21st century.

In the future there could be a new type of car for the many people who don’t want to be close to hundreds of people in airports and aircraft cabins, and who don’t want to travel by the most environmentally damaging form of transport: the short-haul flight. 

Conceived by Car Design Research (CDR — a UK based agency that has worked for the Design Groups of 11 of the world’s top 20 car companies over the last twenty years) during lock-down last year, Budget Airline Car is a concept for a new type of car design that would produce only 2% of the emissions per passenger compared to a short-haul flight. 

Budget Airline Car would uniquely have spacious seating for six adults with their cabin baggage close to hand, electric power developed for long-distance cruising (rather than high performance), and a design focussed on aerodynamics and shared access. In combination these make a design that could realise a totally new way to comfortably and efficiently travel from city to city, and that sits in a ‘white space’ — is conceptually distinct from other cars.

The core concept for Budget Airline Car was developed closely with CDR design associates Yichen Shu in China and Aditya Jangid in India, both of whom then designed subtly different exterior design themes, and illustrated how the car might be offered as an alternative to flying by today’s budget airline brands.

Today cars are evolving in their design far slower than the changes in the lives and sensibilities of the people who use them, or the technologies that enable them.  Yet, if embraced, these changes could unlock the potential for truly new types of cars designed for life in the mid-21st century — just as Budget Airline Car is.