Social Media-Focused Indi One Electric Car Debuts at Automobility LA

The INDI ONE's premium trim will come with a Vehicle Integrated Computer for gaming, recording, editing and sharing video. INDI EV

On display at Automobility LA this week is the Indi One, an electric vehicle (EV) billed as the "world's first social media-oriented" car.

The EV from Los Angeles-based startup IndiEV is designed to accommodate the online lifestyles of millennials and Gen Zers.

In an interview, Indi One head of design Andre Hudson told Newsweek that the company's main directive has been to develop a car that bridges the technological gap between using a smartphone and using a car. For them, smart mobility is the name of the game.

"For us, we felt the idea of when people transition from their mobile devices or their computers at home and move into their vehicle, there was still some disconnect with how they were using the technology and how they were connecting with the world around them," he explained.

With a Vehicle Integrated Computer (VIC) that runs parallel to the in-vehicle infotainment system, the company plans to offer a wide array of social media and entertainment options. Multiple cameras mounted in the interior and outside of the car allow drivers and passengers to record content that can be edited and published via the car.

INDI's intention, according to Hudson, is to get ahead of the development of a fully autonomous car by offering a picture of what drivers and passengers are capable of doing when the task of driving is done for them.

A diverse array of entertainment, content development and relaxation options will be available to the passengers for now and to the driver when they are stationary. That includes AAA game and VR capabilities.

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For content creators, the car will have livestreaming, filming, editing and uploading features.

Hudson argues that this car can appeal to millennials and Gen Zers who are on their devices for work and play for a significant amount of time, but also has an appeal to families who want to record moments from trips and share them with others.

Aside from the entertainment options, the Indi One is being built with a 95-kilowatt-hour battery that is projected to achieve 300 miles of range and go from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

The car will be available in two trim levels. The base trim won't offer the computer or many of the entertainment options, rather it's available for drivers who simply want something as a daily driver and like the style of the vehicle.

The premium trim will come with all of the connected bells and whistles.

Hudson says that the company is shooting for an MSRP of about $40,000 to $45,000 on the base trim and $60,000 for the premium trim.

A timetable for rollout is pending. The INDI One is still in the prototype phase. Hudson expects the company to move into pre-production as early as the end of 2022.

Knowing that the car is meant to show off its digital capabilities, he says that the challenge has been how to mesh a physical experience with the digital ecosystem.

"I think, aesthetically, we've created a product that relays and portrays the idea that this thing is different and an extension of this computer at its heart," he said.

By displaying its computer system under a piece of glass on the hood, Hudson says that the company is prioritizing the upcoming technological shift in the automotive industry.

"We think the future of 'what's under your hood' is how much processing power do you have and what can you do with your vehicle," he said. "The idea of trying to create an aesthetic that represents what this product will be in the future of the automotive marketplace has been the most exciting thing."

Ownership of the company is somewhat veiled with various media reports linking it back to Chinese mobile game entrepreneur Shi Hai, a controversial figure who has been the subject of many lawsuits.