Volkswagen Looks to Apple for Electric-Car Design Inspiration

Do you want your next car to look like an iPhone?

byStephen Edelstein|
Volkswagen Looks to Apple for Electric-Car Design Inspiration

Its own self-driving car plans remain ambiguous, but Apple may influence the auto industry in another way. Volkswagen-brand design boss Klaus Bischoff told Reuters that his design team is using Apple products as inspiration for the styling of future VW electric cars.

Bischoff said his company is currently "redefining the Volkswagen values for the age of electrification," and that a new design language will be a part of that. Apple's minimalist design sensibility has gotten its products into millions of homes and New York's Museum of Modern Art, so it's not surprising that Bischoff wants to channel some of that magic.

Volkswagen is planning an onslaught of electric cars, beginning with production models based on its recent series of I.D. concept cars. With its rounded edges and minimal exterior decoration, the I.D. hatchback (pictured above) already looks like it was influenced by Apple. The I.D. Crozz crossover has a more traditional look, while the I.D. Buzz is a nostalgic reference to the Microbus.

While consumers equate Apple with cutting-edge technology, and that's likely the same association VW is going for, designing cars is very different from designing smartphones, computers, and tablets. It takes a lot to make a car stand out in traffic, and an Apple-like minimalist approach simply may not do enough to make that happen.

The Volkswagen Group is betting big on electrification. By 2030, it plans to have an all-electric or hybrid version of every model not just in the main VW brand, but in every brand it owns. That includes 50 all-electric models to be launched by 2025. They can't all look like iPhones on wheels.