A strong theme of Chinese culture runs through the electric four-door sedan, influencing everything from the underlying form language and interior design to the unique exterior paint

Changan has revealed the Qiyuan A07, a super-sleek electric four-door sedan that combines Chinese design cues with a “Digital Intelligence Experience.”

While car design today is often influenced by big data analysis, the A07 was instead developed with more of a hands-on approach. The team at Changan decided to engage with potential users to better understand how the vehicle can fit in with their everyday lives on a practical, social and emotional level.

“Through in-depth visits and social surveys, our creative designers had the chance to follow people from morning to night,” the design team explains, “observing the details of their life in different scenarios, such as work, leisure and home, observing them from the perspective of international and Chinese people.” In doing so, the designers say they have obtained answers to questions that have not yet been asked by future customers. While there are various takeaways from this research, a key aspect was around personal and family-oriented happiness.

We found out that this group of users love and care very deeply for their families. They will be busy with their daily work, but also plan to drive to the beach with their loved ones and occasionally go to admire a beautiful sunrise,” the team explains. As we will see later in this article, these themes underpin the design of the A07 in multiple ways, with the car seen as “the beam of light that leads our users to this new improved life.”

We juxtapose the oriental heritage with technology

From an aesthetic standpoint, the team drew inspiration from the natural environment or, more specifically, the theme of “phototropism.” In biology, this describes how a plant redirects the growth of its shoots towards the strongest light source, which serves as a metaphor for how drivers would be attracted by the A07’s exterior at first glance.

This is manifested in the Horizon’s Edge design highlights, which is created by a distinct contour line inspired by a freehand painting and the wide, horizontal layout of the front grille. At the bodysides, the V-shaped contour aims to enhance the visual depth and create “exquisite” aesthetics. The shark nose front end combines with a low centre of gravity, with a sweeping roofline that falls gracefully into a short boot lid and tail.

Often described as the jewellery of the exterior, lighting has become far more than a decorative aspect today and in many cases serves as a halo for the brand itself. With the A07, the Digital Wisdom Wings design highlights was created for both the head and taillights. At the front, the continuous light strip stretches gradually from the centre to the sides like a pair of unfolding wings. These combine with the turn signal lights, which use 32 crystal-clear thick-walled LEDs to accentuate the look. These are functional, too, increasing brightness by 10%. 

The rear lights follow a similar design, with a thin light bar that widens from the centre toward each corner like a set of wings. The brake lights, comprising 22 pillar-style thick-walled LEDs, are also brighter than usual for improved safety. “Reviewing the entire A07, we juxtapose the oriental heritage with technology, enabling the essence of thought to ride the wings of design into tomorrow,” the design team explains.

The Qiyuan A07 looks for the perfect balance between spiritual emotions and design

Indeed, as brands look to differentiate themselves from overseas competition many are using their cultural heritage to offer characteristics that cannot be replicated elsewhere. In the case of the A07, a traditional Chinese colour – Sun Glitter – is offered to depict the sparking light created by the waves sky and sun as dusk draws in over the East China sea. Another colour, Distant Mountain Purple, draws inspiration from the hazy mist that can be seen between mountains at dusk, often depicted in traditional Chinese landscape paintings.

Inside, and the cockpit of the A07 is designed around the theme of an “island of emotions” which is also inspired by the maritime Sun Glitter theme. A strong yet gentle line runs from the door panels into the dashboard, wrapping around and combining parts of the interior that can often look separated. The suspended dashboard aims to resemble an island floating at sea, while buttons are located in black contrast sections to reduce visual clutter.

Effort has gone toward the user experience beyond the touchscreen or steering wheel functions, with key hardware given more of a handcrafted and haptic feel. The door handles, for example, use push-buttons and the window switches are uniquely shaped knobs that bring a touch of quality to an otherwise mundane task. The design team concludes that the overall feel for the passenger and driver is “an elegant homely style.”

The Changan design team say that the Qiyuan A07 was ultimately designed to channel the emotions of potential customers “from the inside out, looking for the perfect balance between spiritual emotions and design.”