Car on a Stick by Ross Lovegrove


Car on a Stick is a green urban transport proposal by industrial designer Ross Lovegrove.

The concept involves bubble-shaped cars that are powered by solar canopies on the roof. At night, the cars are stored atop telescopic poles, where they act as street lights and keep the ground level free of parked vehicles.

The vehicles are designed to carry four passengers plus shopping, which is stored in recesses on the floor. The cars navigate automatically via voice command and satellite navigation.

There is more info on this project here

Posted on Thursday January 24th 2008 at 11:25 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • ben

    Apologies to the moderator. I just feel that Ross Lovegrove represents a perhaps necessary (in today’s showman-designer world) “salesman’s pitch” approach that I find to be derivative, redundant and ultimately self-serving and not in any way providing fresh “real” (ie applicable in the next 50-100 years) solutions to our current, or near current problems or deficiencies in the world of “organic essentialism” or any other “world concept”. If he were a concept artist for ILM or a Si-Fi mag I would welcome his ideas but here I feel he is just sketching an alternative universe that is in no way “realistic”. Oh, so many relative words. I know Ross want’s a peaceful loving world, and I applaud it but I also want him to stop taking the easy route and show some elegant solutions for our current problems, not just a dream world of his own creation (where “technology and many “other” people’s lives have been spent making it a “reality”. Really, is this any different than an 18 year old on posting a spaceship rendered in 3Dmax or Maya?

  • ben

    Please Ross, show me how it (is supposed to) work (you know, motor design, solar conversion to electrical energy at an efficient rate, wheels that function unlike shopping cart trolleys (as shown), “batteries” that are embodies in the vehicle skin, shopping that does not scatter throughout your “pod” upon sharpish turns or acceleration, , etc, etc,) and I would consider him a genius. That’s all I am saying. Not just how it might “look” with a tourist excitedly taking a photo of it in your promotional renders! One other thing, surely the jetsons (a 1950-60 animation) has been an influence. Apart from the 3D modeling and rendering, where is the evolution?

  • ben

    Moderator, I’m sorry but….
    My future car becomes a “light” to assist my fellow citizens walk the street at night in safety. Am I a bad person for wanting to take my car off its pole and drive (as a passive subject) home to my “Ross Pod”, leaving a vulnerable section of “dark” where deviants can cause havoc? This is just one though that went through my mind as I explored “Ross World” as shown on TED. Again I state that he is indeed (in my eyes) talented and highly creative, but the only thing I see that separates him from most is a body of (very good) physical work and grey hair but as yet a “futurist” he is not.

  • ben

    One last though,
    “Organic Essentialism” is the term Ross Lovegrove has given his work. The car shows efficiency of form (a sphere like object – efficient surface area to volume as used by nature). There is no indication of any drive, motor, electrics, etc (being housed under the cabin floor I assume). The wheels have no sign of shock absorption (apart from perhaps a future technological break-through), the occupants sit in a radiating fashion, with only one or two facing properly forward (but lets assume the car can take us where ever we wish without our intervention – apart from saying “15 Future Avenue, Rossville”, (as there is no manual controls evident). Safety is no longer an issue (no sign of seatbelts). Perhaps an airbag system is deployed? Perhaps the occupants are teleported to other locations if the car registers an imminent impact (no that’s just silly unrealistic derivative futurist thinking). The stability of the three-wheeled car is balanced centrifugally as the gyrating copter blades are released from their solar canopy and we enter Frank Lloyd Wright’s much earlier (and more progressive) futurist vision of flying pods of similar size and shape.
    P.s. Don’t worry about overheating in your pod as future engineer’s and designers who understand nature and her effects properly have solved those problems for you!

  • ben

    Please, someone shoot me down!

  • SR

    Ben, I won’t shoot you down. However, I can confidently say that the technologies required to make this proposal a reality do exist, albeit in bits and pieces with many yet to be commercialized. Technology, or even feasibility aside, a good vision project is reflective of a deep understanding of socio-cultural/economic trends tempered with insightful, contextualized proposals for the future. I’m certain 100 people from different cultures and professions around the globe have each can each take a little snippet of this proposal and spark a new innovation in their respective area of expertise or curiosity. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Find a piece of this that excites you and build on it. Cheers – SR.

  • AM

    Car on a stick…. Experimental. Innovative. Elegant. Visionary. Green. Sustainable. Unique. Different form the rest. Not paid by any advertisement. Not paid by any company. Exciting. A different perspective. What’s wrong with it?

  • abyssinian

    just the fact that it caused such an overwhelming response makes it automatically legitimate!!!


    design, technology aside…
    1. what happens when someone rams you with their SUV? safety?
    2. where is the steering wheel?
    3. riding in the bubble might cause dizziness due to the non-directional views
    4. the stick? i take it the stick pops the car up when its in park…. first why? second, it must have different height settings due to different locations… third, support? wind? drunk people? stupid people?

    … it looks like its from the jetson’s

    i’ll stick to walking, but nice try it thinking outside the box.

  • bald skull

    see, i’m torn on things. his TED video is dope and a nice view of what goes on behind the scenes and his ideas. inspirational for a current design student.

    then when i sit in one of his chairs, they’re not comfortable or stable. look nice, but i would buy one or feel good sitting in one (as apposed to a karim rashid piece). it’s an aesthetic piece in my eyes.

    these cars introduce wild/inventive ideas which we deff need today, but look better suited as a ride in disneyland or as a new monorail transit system. pumpkin on wheels?

    i still <3 U ross

  • Hemi

    Not particularly inspiring.. can’t quite see how the relationship between parked cars and street lights would work. Nice rendering I guess.. the bicycle is still a far more elegant solution.

  • Bozo

    Like Newsons flying saucer.
    Whats the name of the engineer of the latest carbon fiber boeing again?

  • fBot

    Go Ben Go!

  • Suzy

    Drunk driving would no longer be an issue, if you can still talk properly.

  • @Moose:
    1. lets hope we’ve moved beyond this waste of space and resources within the next 20 years.
    2. i think they mention voice control? but really wouldn’t it be nice to remove the steering wheel? maybe something more gesture based or mind controlled when its available.
    3. probably. i dont think there is a way around that one in this design.
    4. yes. its the parking function to give the car the “public furniture” aspect using the lights below.

    over all i love this concept. its small, efficient, multipurpose. it has everything it needs, nothing more or less. i wish i were elaborated upon a bit more to eliminate questions such as interfacing and purpose of functions. i think its a perfect design concept. now all we need is a more selfless and sensible population and this sucker would be in mass production.

  • JQL

    Of course this design has many flaws. I don’t think Ross wants to give us the solution to our problems. It’s just a nice idea. Not so significant but fun. It isn’t even design, it’s just concept. However I think Ben is absolutely right. There is a need for deeper research. Too much images too much unfinished ideas make us think only in the next incredible thing and we loose our focus on the important aspects of design.

  • ben

    One last thought,
    I think the concept of organic essentialism is fantastic and that not one person should be expected to resolve the world’s problems in the field of transportation. Hopefully some one will give Ross’s aesthetic/conservation of form sensibilities a chance to become realised is some sort of vehicle in the future. I don’t believe this is contradictory to my previous post. The formal DNA is good, the product is not.

  • eyes

    I think the public car concept much like the public bike system Velib in Paris is a great initiative. Unfortunately the car on a stick vision proposed here is a very poor physical manifestation of futuristic public transport.

  • charles

    I had great time with this project while I was high.
    It felt as if it were the greatest satirical invention.

  • Never noticed before how much the ground level of the gherkin looks like the tokyo prada store (or vice-versa, which came first escapes me)

  • Billy

    I guess this does not need a crumple zone or seat belts because it cannot crash. But then again I wouldnt want to be seen dead in one!

  • I like the idea that the pod is multi functional… BUT can you imagine lots (hundreds!!!)of these on the roads? With all the other modes of transport that one needs in a city… If you hate the bendy bus then this seems to take things to and entirely new level… So, they carry 4 passengers…FOUR!!! all wanting to to go to different places and shops on Oxford street..breaking down with no-one about to fix them…… i can only imagine a road that ends up looking something like bubble wrap! I am all for interesting solutions for the future of urban transport – especially ones that consider environmental issues… BUT I cannot see these working at all… Surely well designed (with solar panels?) trams that carry many more people may be a better option than a small bubble? I dunno….. beats me…

    I love my bike!

  • just had a really amusing image in my head… so they carry four people… But hang on… surely during rush hour, you could squeeze say, 15 people in them??? Come on, at a push, we Londoners know exactly how to make use of every single available space offered up – i am sure I have performed mouse-like skeletal contortions on the tube over the years…. Think the central carriages on the Central line at 8.30am but in full view of everyone on the streets of london.. squashed faces, stinky bubbles… brawls in a bubble

  • McK

    Car on a Stick? Is that what we call a target for missiles thrown by drunk adolescents? There is one reason why this would not work and it is not a design/technology flaw: In most metropolitan centres, in most developed nations of the world, a Car on a Stick would be destroyed by vandals within hours. Indeed, any city where these would not be vandalised would be so damn boring, you wouldn’t want to go there.

    In the future… people will walk. Period.

  • Random guy

    did anyone notice the tire is scraping across the ground because its not propperly aligned with the other tires
    and the tires are so small it couldn’t be very fast
    and wouldn’t the seat be like sitting on a rail
    Where is the previously mentioned storage
    My $0.02

  • I love this idea!! needs a little work but it’s a great concept design, along with a pretty sound functioning plan.

  • rjc

    perhaps a cross between the tube, bus and taxi… but automated… is all about potentials… thats it. prospect and progress right!

  • I agree. It seems like the designer is too far removed from the realities of the world and it’s more about painting a utopian, idealistic world. Having such a car might be cool, but it looks so impractical and unsafe that I doubt anyone would want to manufacture that.