GAC Van Life autonomously navigates using stars + has versatile interiors for adventure seeker’s needs

Are adventure trips and camping always at the back of your mind? Then Chinese automaker, GAC Design has got you covered with its latest vehicle concept revealed at the 2023 Milan Design Week, Italy. The inspiration for this camper vehicle comes from the lingering need for a long-journey commuter which is a viable alternative to airplanes.

The four-wheeled off-roader as a part of the GAC Car Culture Series is built for extended journeys and with its zero-emission credentials gets brownie points for the health of Earth too. This boxy vehicle called Van Life, is true to its namesake and resembles an expedition vehicle destined for Mars, but for now, we stick to its utility for the planet we call home.

Designer: GAC Design

The electric concept is proposed to have a low carbon footprint since it’s crafted from lightweight materials salvaged from recycled materials including plastic, aluminum and carbon fiber. Being low on weight means, the vehicle has a far better range than any other concept vehicle destined for a real-life version. Even the solid-state battery, that’s safer and longer-lasting compared to current generation ones – is made from environmentally friendly materials.

According to Stéphane Janin, Director of GAC Advanced Design Milan, “This concept car highlights what is great about being able to go wherever you want to. We believe that cars are not just objects that move people from A to B, but also machines that create good memories.”

The all-electric Van Life has symmetrical proportions for a balanced stance – while riding tough terrains like mud, sand or rocks – aided by its massive treaded wheels with retractable flaps for superior traction control and high ground clearance. It can also move forward in autonomous mode with the four LiDAR sensors doing all the fancy work of analyzing what lies ahead. The EV uses a state-of-the-art GPS navigation system and in places where there’s no connectivity, the intelligent system uses the position of the stars to navigate accurately.

On the inside is where the undeniable USP of Van Life is evident. There are two seats and the rear has space for storing camping essentials. The benches can be folded out and slid out of the vehicle to enjoy the outdoors and extend the living area even further. Restful sleep during the night is also guaranteed with a modular arrangement that makes maximum use of space.

Then there is the orbital frame that embodies most of the interior and is used for attaching or detaching necessary items at will. Anything from a bag or smartphone to a tray or hammock. The sun’s energy-absorbing orbital frame doubles as a power source for juicing up electrical systems or onboard gadgets. Although the side windows are a bit claustrophobic, the panoramic sunroof makes up for it.