In 2010, the designer Bryan Thompson received an email. she sent it Steve Jobs. The interest was that the creator of Manzana could see his prototype car, the mysterious V-Vehicle.
When we talk about mystery, it is that, like all prototypes, it was developed without much fuss, looking for investors. Jobs was an informal adviser to one of them, according to The Guardian account.
The highlight of V-Vehicle of Bryan Thompson is that it was light, driven for gasoline (the trend of the electric car did not yet exist as at present) and the use of cheap materials It would lower the cost of production. It would sell for $14,000.
At the time, Thompson had received support from Silicon Valley investors such as Kleiner Perkins and Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
The meeting between Bryan Thompson and Steve Jobs by the V-Vehicle
Thompson took the V-Vehicle to Steve Jobs’ Palo Alto home. Jobs sat in the driver’s seat and Thompson in the passenger seat: the creator of Apple asked to be alone with the designer.
Use of materials, perception and design intuition: these were the three themes developed by Steve Jobs during his conversation with Thompson.
With Tom Matano and Anke Bodack, the designer of the V-Vehicle worked on a polypropylene and fiberglass body, 40% lighter than a conventional steel vehicle, so its production would cost 70% less.
The Guardian describes the creamy white hatchback as having unpainted upgradeable body panels and space frame bodywork, a design technique usually reserved for high-end cars like the Ferrari 360 or Audi’s line of cars.
The Apple boss’s suggestions
Among the recommendations Steve Jobs gave Thompson I was emphasizing the plastic rather than disguising it. “Let the material be honest,” Jobs said, pointing to the board, made of fiberboard.
Furthermore, he suggested that designing the car as a single piece would evoke “a feeling of high precision.”
“He didn’t spell out the solutions, but the sensitivities and sentiments resonated deeply with me, and I took advantage of that moment of high energy buzz to bring that sensitivity inside ”, recalls Thompson in his conversation with The Guardian.
He received a gigantic compliment from Jobs in one short sentence: the V-Vehicle “has a soul.”
What happened to the V-Vehicle?
Steve Jobs would die a year after the meeting, in 2011, a victim of cancer. AND the V-Vehicle would not come to light due to various economic problems.
The company was renamed Next Autoworks, with LCV Capital Management purchasing Thompson’s designs plus $80 million in research and development assets.
Today, when talking about Project Titan, with which Apple works its Apple Car, many consider that Thompson’s idea, improved by Steve Jobs and his pupils in the Cupertino company, will be embodied in the vehicle to be born. News about him is expected sooner or later.