Exclusive VW Design Chief: Self Driving, Electric Cars Revolutionizing Design

Electric mobility and autonomous driving will radically change the layout and functionality of automobiles, Volkswagen’s chief of design, Michael Mauer, told Handelsblatt in an interview.

Electric mobility and autonomous driving will radically change the layout and functionality of automobiles, Volkswagen’s chief of design, Michael Mauer, told Handelsblatt in an interview.

Electric engines are much smaller than combustion engines, Mr. Mauer said, which means it’s no longer necessary to house air conditioning units and other features in a vehicle’s interior.

“We are now at the point where not just the interior, but also the proportions of the entire vehicle will change more dramatically than they have in the past 30 years combined,” he said.

And autonomous driving will also allow designers to rethink how vehicles are actually used, Mr. Mauer said. Passengers could, for example, use their cars for sleeping and office work.

“It’s a golden era for designers,” said Mr. Mauer, who served as the design chief at VW subsidiary Porsche for more than a decade.

Read the full interview in Tuesday’s Handelsblatt Global.