We’ve come far in contributing to a healthier planet by recycling and composting in our daily lives. But with 76 percent of Americans still driving to work solo each day, this staggering statistic challenges aspirations to lower our carbon footprint. The cars we drive contribute to pollution, congestion, and parking issues—especially in urban areas.
The current reality is that many of us require a vehicle to get to work and to get things done around town. Two-wheel and four-wheel modes of transport each have their pros, but they come with significant cons. McKinsey Design got to thinking about the gap in the urban transport space: What if we could combine the best of both worlds and design a smarter, more convenient driving option?
2 + 4 = 3
Our design team ultimately developed Caro, an innovative and conscientious personal transportation alternative that introduces a shift in driving culture. The environmentally friendly Caro is a three-wheeled electric hybrid concept vehicle that combines the comfort, stability, and storage capacity of a car with the efficiency and sleek profile of a motorbike or scooter.
In looking at unmet needs and opportunities, we anticipate that consumer demand for multimodal two- or three-wheeled vehicles will continue to increase. Current solutions on the market are not feasible for most users and have hindered adoption; the tradeoffs are too high. Many find the lower cost of a basic motorcycle attractive, but beside the lack of storage and exposure to the elements, it’s quite obvious that a bike is not for everyone. And although a car offers a self-contained environment with carrying capacity, it requires more resources to produce, purchase and run. Not to mention the parking situation…
The Caro concept takes many of the desirable attributes of a car and combines them with the agility and compact structure of a bike. Its three-wheel design offers physical stability and protection from the elements, which appeals to a wider range of users. While Caro is built for two, modular components allow it to operate as a single-person ride when maximum cargo space is required. A “pull and slide” feature turns the second seat into a larger trunk. In our current design specs, the trunk offers the same amount of storage as a compact car.
Designed for the way consumers drive now and aspire to drive in the future, Caro’s clean lines and user-friendly aesthetic are well integrated into today’s digital world. Benefits include keyless biometric access that enhances security and a rearview camera for added safety and ease of mobility. The UI incorporates built-in navigation, an electric speedometer, and battery life indicators. A weather shield can be activated to protect against wind, rain, or snow—or retracted when taking a spin on a beautiful day.
Despite all of its intense technological, environmental, and safety features, we’re pretty sure that Caro just looks really cool on the street. We hope that this new concept for a three-wheeled mode of urban travel will inspire conversation and invite wider exploration in the alternative transportation space.
Caro is designed by Germain Verbrackel, Kuen Chang, Angela Sevilla, Nick Ross, Sara Cinnamon and Terence Kwan.