THE CAR HAS long proved a cornerstone of American life, inextricably tied to almost everything people do in work, life, leisure, and business. It is also a marker of our contemporary moment, distilling and reacting to cultural cues—think of the bombastic muscle cars of the Vietnam era, and the trepidatious econo-boxes that arrived in its wake. That won’t change anytime soon, but the car will undergo radical change—from the inside out.
“I look at the exterior as the love at first sight, and the interior as the long-term relationship,” says Derek Jenkins, chief of design for California electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors. “That’s very much where you have to spend time, intimate time, with the vehicle. It’s physical, it’s hands-on. It’s where you really either appreciate the product, or it annoys you.”