POWERFUL. RUGGED. A STATEMENT. These are just some of the phrases used to describe the industry’s leading trucks. Aesthetically, the Atlis XT must live up to these and look for new ways to combine form and function - in other words, everything on the truck is necessary for function but also styled to make it exciting and bold. In this blog we will look at showing just some of the ways in which the XT’s design sets it apart from the rest and why it looks the way it does.
Firstly, the front view. This is the face of the vehicle and arguably right now, the face of the company. It is the first thing you are greeted with when you look at the truck and it is the main area used to influence opinion and excitement. The very first thing you probably notice is those two imposing grills. They serve an important purpose in delivering a suitable air supply to the many components behind, as well as aiding aerodynamics and adding aggression into the design.
Many trucks today have a multiple unnecessary grills and false openings. We were very aware of this when designing our grills. We wanted one singular opening that adds drama because of its size, not because it looks like snarling nostrils or a gaping mouth. So, instead of making the grills and designing around that, we created a visual outline by using surface changes and split lines, and then carved these two grills out of that. The result is this area that is slightly recessed and further differentiated by a material change from the bold chrome on a matte finished surface. Its an elegant and simple trapezoidal shape, but it adds just enough ‘oomph’ to keep the front punchy and direct.
The grills' lower corners are cut out at an angle and this same angle is used repeatedly over the front to keep cohesion and form. For example, the fog light housing cuts off at this angle, as well as the DRL’s (daytime running lights) and lower bumper.
The next area that defines a ‘face’ are the headlights. Slim, subtle, but looking at them closely - housing great detail. Individual jewel-like projectors are sat atop of the DRL that adds some bold thickness to the arrangement. These projectors act as intricate areas that give the bulky styling some subtle refinement. These small areas of detail are very important and you can find them all over the truck – for example the sleek side vent and rear lighting arrangement.
The front is then capped by a chrome bar that defines the break between hood and lower facia. We really wanted to add chrome to the design. Harking back to retro truck design with their flamboyant use of it. Above it sits the hood ornament, the other retro feature that has been adapted for the modern era. Instead of a vulnerable piece of metal placed on to the hood, it’s a surface bulge that pushes up from under the truck. The Atlis motif is then either punched into this or placed onto it as a second chrome logo. Overall this is a quirk that adds something extra to the design without taking it too far.
The front is new and distinctive but also careful not to stray into the realms of sci-fi or stereotypes of electric vehicle design. Navigating these pitfalls was one of the most challenging but it is because of this controlled flamboyancy, that the XT harbours a truly recognisable face without relying on crutches of what is expected from an EV.
THE SIDE Next is the side view. Because of the busyness at the front, we wanted to keep this side surface work relatively clutter free. The side vent is designed to be less of a vent in the conventional sense, but more of a gap that is overlapped by surfaces. It's more tucked away and really the only obvious sign of a vent is due to the neighboring surface ducking in behind it. The simplicity is also in part down to customizability. We want our customers to be able to fully customize their trucks with extra paneling, fenders, etc.
Aerodynamics is always an important factor here so the side paneling is smooth with only a few breaks. The rear fenders swell to create a muscular form. This plants the vehicle solidly into the ground and ensures that the truck looks tough.
The greenhouse is slim and wrapped by black gloss or matte materials so to create a bold area of interest. It also aids the truck's overall view. It is designed to be tough, but also sleek and contemporary.
The final detail is arguably the most important design aspect - the body split line. This line adds surface definition as well as providing an unbroken band that wraps around the whole truck. All substantial design elements sit under this line. This keeps the top clutter free and provides a visual break to keep everything in proportion and tidy. Capped at the front by the chrome bar.
All of these features have roots in older truck design, and this was a big factor when designing this truck. By combining retro elements with modern themes, we have, hopefully, created a timeless design that is both new and exciting but still familiar.
THE REAR The rear is simple but bold. The taillight housing is almost the entire height of the side and is designed to look a part of the side and rear. It is always tempting to create something different for the sake of being different, whether that is by using a light bar or multiple arrangements, but for this it was important to stick to tradition. The interior lights themselves are unique and modern enough to keep this design fresh, so by adding extra details to the housing would have done nothing more than create a fussy feature that in the end took away more than it would have added.
The tailgate has a thick recessed bar meant to resemble a substructure shape, it creates a tough a durable image that visually flows onto the taillights. Underneath all of this sits the bumper - designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. It's one solid piece that is incredibly strong but because of its carved-out edges, looks sleek.
Overall the truck symbolises the Atlis ethos. It’s a distinctive work truck for all occasions contained in a forward-thinking package.