GM's 'Bare Necessities' Concept: How Little Car Do You Want?

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GM Labs Bare Necessities Truck Concept

GM Labs Bare Necessities Truck Concept

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Among the many vehicles shown, described, or teased at this morning's big General Motors press briefing was this unusual green concept from GM Labs, called 'Bare Necessities'. The two vehicles--a car and a truck--are meant to be maximally minimal.

While the event itself focused on the next two years of vehicles from "the new GM," every car had a message to convey. Borrowing the famous motto adopted by Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, the message of these two seems to be "Less Is More".

The idea is to improve the efficiency--not just gas mileage but the efficiency of the entire production process--of a four-seat car by cutting cost and complexity while using sustainable materials. Their metric for success: the lowest cost-per-mile for owners.

The GM Labs blog is the company's way of gathering early-stage feedback from the public at large, though we respectfully suggest that what blog commenters say they want isn't necessarily what real people will actually buy when standing in the dealership.

Still, the blog poses the question, "What is bare necessity to you? What is essential in your vehicle?" From the sketches,  necessities include open surfaces and shelves, two-tone color schemes, and of course iPhone integration.

One intriguing possibility: Offloading increasing amounts of in-car entertainment into ancillary devices, with perhaps no more than a USB port to plumb them into the vehicle's speakers. That'd certainly reduce part count, cost, and complexity.

No powertrain is specified, though you could expect a radically downsized gasoline engine, perhaps a hybrid electric system, maybe even full electric drive.

But we're eager to hear what readers consider to be their own bare necessities in a car. For instance:

  • Do you need four doors?
  • What accessories can't you live without?
  • What would you give up in your current car for lower price and running costs?

Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

GM Labs Bare Necessities Interior Concept

GM Labs Bare Necessities Interior Concept

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GM Labs Bare Necessities Car Concept

GM Labs Bare Necessities Car Concept

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[GM Labs via MotorAuthority]

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Comments (9)
  1. My car necessities: highway and city driving ability, 3 doors, 2 speakers, a display and an iPod dock, at least as many cylinders as there are wheels, reasonable ride/handling, charming aesthetics and personality.
    I could do without: Air conditioning, seating for 5 or more people, most non-music gadgets, air bags.

  2. I'd give up these ridiculous wheels and energy-inefficient, overpriced tires!

  3. I'd also have the US accede to the UN-ECE car reciprocity agreement, which would allow the import (and export) of cars between member countries without having to "federalize" them. Current signees include most of the EU and Japan. As such, cars such as the original Smart, VW Lupo and Chevy Matiz (all 50-70 mpg Superminis)could all be imported tomorrow.

  4. I don't need 3 wheels. Some very interesting concepts are coming out in the X-prize Auto.
    Future Vehicle Technologies
    Supter COOL!!

  5. I don't need 4 wheels is what I meant to say :-)

  6. I also feel that some kind of relaxation of import laws, or standardization with Europe and Japan, where cars are more than SAFE, would allow the immediate IMPORTING of many small and mini - Euro cars. The Fed Standards are just another Tarrif.
    Steve Lough
    Seattle EV Association

  7. Minimal to me means less electronics, more simple mechanical parts that are easy to access and repair. There should be nice analog gauges to show speed, miles, heat, rpm, and battery strength. It should be enclosed from the wind and rain, with mechanical roll-down windows. Manual transmission. No veneer on the inside, though. Just let the bolts and metal show.

  8. I also prefer a true minimalist car, manual windows, analog gauges, MANUAL transmission, no Big Brother-esque crap like Black Boxes or OnStar, and yes, keep engine control electonics to a bare minimum, multiport injection or direct injection (or better still, a small turbodiesel), keep it simple enough for shadetree mechanics to turn wrenches on it
    Basically, take the chassis of an Ariel Atom, scale it up a bit to support up to four seats (optional seats)
    In fact, an Ariel Atom with cargo space would be my perfect car

  9. I would like to see a bare necessity car built for under 5 feet women and who have a disability with the feet and legs. So a small car with raised peddles or knob on wheel, iphone holder, radio, A/C, Auto, 4 cyclinder or hybrid type, adjusted seats, lower hatchback or button to up it up from inside, Michelin wheels, raised seats to see over the dash. Two airbags in front and two in backseat side doors. 2 door but not such a heavy door to open and shut, one of the back seats flips down to put more stuff in and a medium size dog. Don't put alot of fancy stuff on dash keep it simple and clear and fresh looking. We need to have our freedom with travel in a comfortable warm and safe car, without needing to depend on others to drive us around. There are more and more people out there with disabilities of all ages. I have never seen this subject connected to the car industry currently or for that matter for the future, it would be nice to see.
    Surrey BC Canada

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