BY: DANIEL KORN
Like most kids who grew up with the benefit of having older siblings, I watched a lot of The Simpsons when I was probably a bit too young to understand certain things about the show, the most striking of which was the utter failure of “The Homer”—a monstrosity of a car designed by Homer Simpson whose high manufacturing cost completely bankrupts his brother Herb’s company. As a child who thought real-life things were mostly boring, the idea of a lime green, double-domed, tail-finned vehicle whose horn blared “La Cucaracha” seemed like a recipe for success.
A look at Brazilian artist and designer Eduardo Galvani’s “Nimbus e-Car” proves that I’m not the only one. Looking like the lovechild of The Homer and a classic Volkswagen Kombi, the concept car is a hybrid that uses a lithium ion battery “which works simultaneously with a micro combustion generator,” says Galvani’s page on the car.
Let me once again accentuate the fact that this is a concept car, which means it is not being made for the public market. Actually, the Nimbus is probably a step behind a concept, as its physical representation consists of nothing more than some nicely-rendered 3D models.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about some of its proposed features, which read rather adorably like the inventions of a rambling 8-year-old. The car is made out of lightweight materials like titanium and aluminum, and is covered in solar panels so that it can generate some of its own energy. It can switch to 4-wheel-drive at the flick of a button. It has panoramic windows and a central display that works as a removable touchscreen. Sealing the deal is an internal mini-fridge that has the space for eight cans.
Listen, we’re all aware that this thing is never coming out. There are no development plans for it currently, building a real-life model would be too expensive with tech that doesn’t yet exist, and its visual design is a weird marriage of vintage and futurism—anything but modern. But I like it. I like it! It’s esoteric, forward-thinking, and dopey, with a childish vibe that taps directly into the part of my brain that still thinks The Homer is pretty cool. And even if the Nimbus isn’t economically feasible, there’s value in entertaining these outsider ideas. I’m reminded of the fantastic 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, which discusses how a never-made film adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel still managed to be hugely influential on science fiction cinema.
The Nimbus probably won’t hit those levels of influence, but maybe somewhere there’s a businessman seeing the prototype for the first time and thinking about how to implement some of these ideas into next year’s models. The Nimbus might be farfetched, but it’s important that it, and other concept cars like it, exist.