Cars are pure beauty and a work of art for some;all with their own personality, some of them represent luxury,others utility,others are sexy,others are wild and savage and sometimes we even assign gender to them like this car is more for women than men but when we look deep behind all the colors and small design changes, all cars look the same and it even weird when a brand try to change from what we are used to. the reactions wave that the cyber-truck has created due to its unconventional look made me wonder why cars share the same shape and here is my research on the matter.
Let's start with the packaging
The whole car is designed around people and the engine. Car designer needed to find a way to get the engine, you and others passengers in a same moving box . When you look closely almost every cars are composed of 3 parts; the hood where the engine resides,the cabin for passengers and the trunk for any other carriages. to put it simple, finding a way to package all the components of a car affected the overall look of vehicles.
The simple definition of aerodynamics is the study of how things move through air.
With time people have understood that the shape of the car influences its movement through air; meaning the air can have more resistance on a car when it's shaped a certain way that's when people moved from having boxy exteriors to more curved ones which offers less wind resistance since the air can flow more easily over them. Less resistance to the air result into the car using less energy for moving meaning the car use less energy and fuel.
Safety and regulations
Pedestrians protection standards in Europe require that cars be made to hit the upper and lower body at the same time so that the victim is more likely to bounce onto the hood. That forces Designer to include tall bumpers and massive front.
Packaging of the fuel tank is also subject to regulations and must be located within the wheelbase.
A very conservative industry
The automobile sector is one of the most expensive industry in the world. developing and producing a new model is a risky investment that many brands are not willing to take. A lot of models have failed in the past trying to beat the status quo therefore brands prefer to play in the safe zone with what have worked already.
Cars don't have to look the same anymore.
The future of transportation is so uncertain right now that even leader car makers seem to don't really know on what they should put their focus on ( autonomous or electric? selling cars or offering subscriptions service?) But one thing is certain vehicles will not look and be the same anymore.
Less moving parts, more sensors
With the transmission from the combustion engine to the electric motor the car needs less part and mainly works with batteries usually located under the car and the motor between the wheels which leads to most part of the car becoming unused like the hood now used as an extra storage ( the frunk "front trunk"😏) this change will push designer to play with the shape of the car as you can see in the cannoo van and the rivian chassis called the skateboard platform.
A full self driving car is coming we are not sure when yet but what we have now is cars safer than ever, cars that communicate with its environments and cars that almost drive themselves thanks to sensors. the modern car have at least 100 sensors on it and they need to be strategically placed in order to provide relevant information and their positioning will eventually influence the shape and design of the vehicle.
Experience over ownership
If you can have access to any kind of transport anytime and anywhere the motivation of you owning one car is not that big as 5 years ago right? Well car makers have understood the changes in transportation consumption and now try to build cars that will give you the best experience while using it as a service owning one. canoo and vw coming up with their concepts that are basically small rooms on wheels and Tesla with Netflix on board what next, mobile hotels?. The design of car are moving toward offering to users a space where they can extend their day to day activities as working, entertaining, dating and even sleeping.
A lot of aspects come into account when designing a car; the packaging of all the parts, the aerodynamic and many regulations but with the improvements in technologies many car makers are exploring different possibilities of designing a car in order to offer a great and more comfortable experience for car users.