It's so hard from the inside-out

Can’t get a non-conventional form for a van when you need to consider the packaging that already exists.

I’m doing a small RV ( Class-C type). I’ve got the main things of the interior down, now I am working on the exterior. It looks like a regular van no matter what.

Oh BTW, is there any example of vehicle doors that open by both swings(like gull wing style) and slide? I kinda come out with a mechanism, but just want to know how people do it out there.

Reminds me of the Toyota DMT concept… arhhh…

I may post more sketches of the features that led to this design… long story.

7am… going to bed.

I never understood why people like putting such tiny wheels on RVs. Is is to keep the floor down? If you’d put bigger wheels on, the car would move faster at the same transmission speed. Probably decrease the fuel consumption somewhat.

Nice sketch m-cow.

I think the RV is a great project as they are so under designed. Might want to research vintage airstreams if you haven’t allready. Their unique manufacturing proccess lead to some unique looks.

What I like about this is that by designing in the large glass panels you open up the interior visually and prevent the manufacturer from slathering it with those awfull graphics.

I think the front end could use some detailing, it is begging for some architectural type details like on the new Nissan Azeal concept that was shown at the Detroit show.

I like the use of the trench surface that wraps the vehicle. I think this would visually camoflage some of the RV’s mass. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of large vehicles that use this device make it too deep. As in it looked great on a 19" computer monitor, but when the vehicle was 20 feet long, it looked like you could loose your arm in it. Something to look out for on these things. Make the surface changes overly subtle, and full scale it will look just right.

Good luck man.


Small wheels… they aren’t that small if you think of what need to be there. Furthermore, I’d say most of the wheels people use are too excessively large. Mine are set to that size as I want to have a completely flat floor plan inside.

I have looked at the air stream. I went to a RV show last week and was amazed by some things…

1.) How many things they can fit in.
2.) How much space they can have.
3.) How cheap of material they use( for weight and cost)
4.) How that everyone of them is the same
5.) How expensive and time consuming they are made.
and more…

The air stream is really for high end users who have more retirement money then people hope for. It’s like the MB of RVs, whereas those large motorhomes are the RR of the RVs. I am doing the xB of them…

My market focus:

Asian, particularly Japanese, Korea and Taiwan. RV has never been a tapped market over there due to several reasons, but young people are willing to travel a lot more and more.This is aimed for small young families of 2 adults and 2 children.


You don’t buy them, but you rent them, on weekend trips where you don’t want to have too much hassile yet want to be independent.

Design focus:

Focus on creating an interior system that can be arranged easily to accomodate to the users’ needs. Say a couple wants to go for a trip. They get on the internet and place an order. They drag and drops the furniture they want and pay the deposit. They then go to the RV rental place before their trip starts and get going. The rental service, upon receiving their order, simply assemble the interior in the simpliest and most cost effective way, this saves time. The manufacturer, since making module based products, can mass produce instead of the conventional “house-building” method used now.

So that’s why I have the big door panels on the side. First is to create a very opened space that people don’t get in the cities. Secondly, it flips up to create a shade. The middle door also slides backwards if the passenger needs to get out. There are other features that are in there… I have to make both a scale model( inside and outside) as well as a CAD model( course inside-out too). It’s going to be hell.

BTW I was looking at concepts like Isuzu Zen and Toyota DMT for inspiration. The Zen is a particularly interesting concept but didn’t get much attention.

Sounds like a good setup. Agree with you on the Zen. It had a lot of great things going on.

there’s some stuff to look at here:

The interior of the zen is pretty hot:


Yeap, the use of tatami creates lots of space. That’s why I want to have a flat floor plan.

Yeah, the flat floor is def the way to go here.

You putting all the mechanicals inbetween the floor and the sub-floor like the Merc A-Class? Also might want to look into the whole GM skateboard chassis/ fuel cell thing?

I like your consumer backstory. Should lead to some good design insights.

I’m not using the Hywire technology because I will have all the water, propane, fuel, battery, sewage and septic storage under the floor board. You can just lift the floor board to access to these things if they need to be maintained, so one need not get under the car, easier for the renters too.

The GM skate board concept pretty much fills up the bottom with battery.

So the engine layout is pretty conventional, right under the driver, but the space is huge, so can definitely consider more gadgets.

good call

Ride comfort relates directly to tire diameter … generally. The compromise is a complex suspension system with attendant weight gains. Tire diameter/wheelbase ratio, combined with low ground clearance, might be inviting frequent grinding on driveway entrances, railroad crossing, etc.

extensive glass-area will put major demands on the air-conditioning system.

although slightly locomotive-esque, i like the look.

Sorry MC, that was my comment above.

I wasn’t “logged-in”, and I hate comments by “guest” .

Not to nerd out, I know it’s just a loose sketch but:

If you look at the height of the figure standing next to the vehicle, looks like the tire diameter is up to his kneecap. Guessing the figure is about 5’10" making the tire outer diameter approx: 22"-23"

Lmo, you think that would be a get a good ride. Seems pretty average.

… my eye projected the apex of the wheel arcs and interpreted the tires as somewhat smaller … eye of the beholder and all that … maybe 18" diameter O.D… (…like my eye is calibrated that closely).

The ride, in my opinion, would have been somewhat harsher than that provided by a larger tire diameter. You are right on with your comment about excessive wheel diamter though.

Judging by the ground clearance this IS a road machine… so ride concern is probably academic, but low ground clearance might still be a problem.

Any thought of incorporating a “pop-out” feature to create additional room while parked?

It’s form is certainly unique, I would be drawn to it.

Actually even with the figure the sense of size of the vehicle is pretty misleading. It’s actually pretty tall. My rule is that it must fit a standing adult from the floor which is the top of the grey body. The driver seat is jacked way up, higher than most van and certainly feels like driving a semi.

There is no pop-out feature because the interior is pretty stripped down. However, the glass doors are there for a reason. They flip upwards like “gull-wing” doors to form shades, so you can increase its “indoor” space. It’s more like creating a sense of balcany.

My goal is to try to encourage the users to go out doors as much as possible. The RV will be more like a supply station and a shelter at night, that’s why I am trying to create the sense of openess instead of a “homie” atmosphere.

As for why I choose all glass side doors. Well, first I want the people to have the best view of what’s around them. Secondly, I want something that doesn’t need much tooling, something simply looking. Thirdly, and more importantly, I want the vehicle to conform to its surrounding. Instead of trying to use materials or forms to suit the varing environment that it may be in, I am reflecting the environment to “camouflage” it. I was also trying to achieve a somewhat International style aesthetic.

BTW the roof top compartment is actually a jacuzzi. People worship hotspring resorts in Asia. It will be nice to have their own private pool by plugging the hose and just pay for the water. When not in use, it can be used as cargo storage.

That idea came from “redneck swimming pool” if you know what I am referring to… or just do a pic search on google and you will know what I mean :smiley:

Great start to your project.

You are right, tt’s a tough job to get a van to look unique. What you can’t play with too much in the form though, you can always do in the details. Although, the designers of the Fiat Multipla before the redesign would probably disagree.

I would look alot at the Euro minivan market. Espace, Scenic, Picasso, VW’s heritage of Microbus, Vanagon, Eurovan, Fiat Multipla. There are some unique designs in there, and definately some weird details.

Also, you might want to look back at Tatra. They were making sedans, but their weird proportions might allow the form to be evolved into a van successfully.

Lastly, looking at that Tatra made me think of the surface detailing on the Ford Focus (mark I). If you want to layer in some streamlining details, you could always do it on the surfaces. This doesn’t seem like your direction though.

Your text description of the interior is intriguing. Do you have a sketch of that yet?

Not a final version yet. So far I have been doing sketches to resolve functional issues. I have just decided on a direction and getting into the aesthetics now. Also they proportion of those interior sketches are not very right as well.

Furthermore, I need to scan them and my scanner will take years to run through those. I will post them as soon as I got something better done.