Hyundai Motor has designed the Hyundai Soapbox ride which parents can build together with their children and groups of friends can create. The soapbox was developed by engineers and designers from the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center (HMETC) using affordable and easily-available materials. Intended to promote quality time for customers, families and friends, Hyundai has made the instructions available to download so the vehicle can be built at home.
“In recent months, spending time together as a family has become more valuable to people. We wanted to create a fun project that would give families and friends an enjoyable project that brings them together,” says Andreas Christoph-Hofmann, Vice-President of Marketing & Product at Hyundai Motor Europe. “Of course, the Hyundai Soapbox had to stay affordable, so our designers developed it using materials that can be easily found in a local DIY store.”
With schools still closed in parts of Europe, and families spending more time together, Hyundai recognised the importance of spending quality time with one’s family and wanted to come up with a project that would be fun for parents and children alike. As a mobility provider, this naturally involved something related to cars – and thus the idea of the Hyundai Soapbox was born.
“In the car industry we get so used to thinking within certain boxes, but this time, the door was open,” says Thomas Bürkle, Head of Hyundai Europe Design Center. “With this project, we were free to be creative and think outside the box.”
The Hyundai Soapbox was designed just like a regular car. First, a team of engineers built the chassis. Then, a team of designers sketched ideas, first on paper and then as 3D computer models. They came up with different designs, chose one, and started building. Lastly, another team worked on colour and trim.
“When designing the Hyundai Soapbox, it was important for us to ensure feasibility,” says Eduardo Ramirez, Head of Exterior Design Team at HMETC. “We didn’t want to disadvantage parents for the sake of staying true to our original design. So when the design got too complex, we needed to take a step back and rethink.”
The designers created a model through 2D sketches and by folding paper to represent the diagonal intersection of surfaces. This resulted in an angular and geometric look. “45’s concept of language is a very easy-to-remember form. The graphics and shapes will stay in your memory,” says Bürkle.
The soapbox is made out of wood, metal rods, and connecting materials such as brackets and screws. The wheels are from a wheelbarrow. It has joysticks for steering and a simple mechanism for braking. True to Hyundai’s commitment to eco-friendly mobility solutions, the Hyundai Soapbox is made primarily from environmentally-friendly materials such as wood and metal.
Though the soapbox is built for the size of a child, due to clever engineering, it can also carry an adult’s weight.
The colour of the soapbox is bright yellow, meant to capture the optimism and joy of childhood, as well as a nod to one of the launch colours of the original Kona.
The Hyundai Soapbox is one meter wide and 1.76m long. It could fit into a regular passenger car so that families could transport it to different locations as they look for hills to roll it down.