The oddest-looking, and most bizarrely named cars at the Detroit Motor Show this week were three three tiny concepts from Chinese auto designer Li Guangming.
But while the Tang Hua Book of Songs, Piece of Cloud or Detroit Fish are unlikely to make it on UK roads, Li believes they are an important design study into creating a unique Chinese design language.
He said: “There will be no Chinese national cars of significance if the Chinese spirit is absent from their design,” he said.
Li’s dream is to create an iconic car for China that would be comparable to the Ford Model T in early 20th century America, or the VW Beetle in post-war Germany. He’s clearly a fan of the Beetle, and believes a “rounded, friendly” look is indicative of Chinese culture.
The three concepts are all electric cars. Li believes it is vital that China explores alternative energy sources.
“If China and India burned gas at the same rate as the US, they would consume four times the fuel reserves of the entire planet. The future must point to the EV field – that’s one of the reasons why I’m exhibiting here at Detroit,” he said.
The Detroit Fish –so named because it is amphibious, and has been specially designed for the show – has a 3.5kW electric motor and lithium ion battery pack, giving a range of 150km and a top speed of 45kmh. Li believes these small cars can have uses in “tourist spots, large communities, university campuses and small towns”.