February 1, 2023

Well-known Chinese automotive pro GAC Group has just popped up an advanced design studio in Milan which is their first ever in Europe. While there are no plans to open one in the US as of now, the complete focus of the event centered on the flamboyant two-seater concept to dive into the countless surprises set on the horizon.

The roofless electric sports car strikes a good balance between The Need for Speed craving, and minimalism defining the aesthetics of vehicles in a decade’s time. Latter being spotlighted by the flat avant-garde shape resembling a flashy coffee table.

Designer: GAC Design

The semblance of Italian automotive influence from the 80s and their previous in-house concept cars is understandable. The show car dubbed GAC Barchetta is the first one in the Car Culture series that debuted in the design district of Milan in Via Tortona, with a vision to celebrate Italy’s abundant car culture. We should get to see more such interesting concepts coming from GAC Design, and for now, this two-seater EV has set the bar really up high.

The open-wheel design of the two-seater EV has a flattened chassis with no windshield to get the minimal aesthetics going. According to the design team, the car is divided into three parts. The flat chassis being one of them, contains compact batteries, something akin to a smartphone battery. Secondly, there is the streamlined body courtesy of the robust mono-material aluminum frame, keeping everything lightweight and visually timeless.

The third one is the ultra-futuristic interior that comes with a drive-by-wire steering wheel that doubles as the heads-up display for showing vital information like speed and battery levels. To keep the minimalism going, driver and passenger seats are crafted from recycled plastic material. Unlike the usual sports car seats, they gravitate to a shell weighing only 6.6 pounds. When GAC Barchetta is parked or not in use, the steering wheel and panels slide into the cabin. The futuristic headrests and the rear-view mirrors also slide into the body shell, making the EV seem completely flat.

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According to Stéphane Janin, design director of GAC Advanced Design Milan; they have concrete plans to create such “innovative projects every year” during the design week. While we desperately wanted to learn more about the technical specifications like the battery capacity and the power delivery ratio, for now, we’ll have to do with the visual treat that this concept EV has turned out to be!