Designer aims to build air-purifying car that you can meet, sleep and eat in

  • British designer Thomas Heatherwick tells CNBC that IM Motors is planning to build around 1 million Airo vehicles.
  • The car, which is currently being engineered, is being designed to strip out pollution from the air as it drives along.
  • The vehicle design includes double sliding doors and adjustable seats that can be turned into beds or swiveled around for a meeting, or a meal, with other passengers.

LONDON – Thomas Heatherwick had never designed a car before being hired by Chinese auto firm IM Motors.

“We’re not car designers,” he told the company when it asked his London studio to dream up a new electric vehicle. “That’s why we want you to work on this,” the company replied.

The result was the Airo car that can theoretically strip the air of pollution as it drives along. Its designs were unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in April.

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Heatherwick, who is behind the futuristic designs of Google’s new buildings in Mountain View and London, told CNBC at the Founders Forum tech event earlier this month that his team is currently working on engineering the vehicle. He expects it to go into full-scale production in 2023.


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