Autocar - Car of the Future

Project Overview

The idea for what became a major 3-part story in Autocar, (the world’s oldest and most respected car magazine) was born during a visit by Editor-in-Chief, Steve Cropley, to the Envisage Group HQ in Coventry. Steve was already aware of the Group’s capability and influence behind the scenes of the automotive business and knew that most of the projects in which the Group is involved, are strictly hidden under a veil of confidentiality.


Autocar was keen however to investigate what it would be like to create from scratch a new people’s car for 2025 and beyond, and to understand the challenges and processes involved. This would provide insights for the reader about how a car is created and the depth of expertise it entails. Such a story would also provide Envisage Group with the opportunity to publicise its array of talents in car design and prototype build without betraying any customer confidences.

Challenges Faced

The chosen concept was a lightweight, electric, C-segment five-door hatchback, similar in size to today’s Golf or Focus, with flexible 5/7 place seating. Its design would need to be equally suitable for private use, as a shared car, or a light commercial vehicle.

Our Solutions

The broad scope of the project, aiming to be the answer to every car owner’s needs, was reflected in its P42 code-name, taking its inspiration from Douglas Adams’ answer to ‘life, the universe and everything’ in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. The computer ‘share’ symbol was added to the name and badge to reinforce the concept’s emphasis on accessibility and sharing.

The design brief jointly was to create a vehicle that was distinctive, instantly recognizable, unashamedly modern and challenging. Led by Oliver Le Grice, the Envisage design team comprised four young Coventry University graduates. The selected design was developed from an original concept by Michael Mills.


What’s more, by using our VR systems we could get a real feel for the car, what it was like to stand next to it, and get inside it.

Results & Achievements

Following agreement on the broad concept, the Autocar story was divided into 3 distinct parts:

  • The key parameters of the project, creative team, early design & engineering decisions and the car’s name
  • Design selection & definition of product detail – dimensions and mechanicals
  • Creation of a 1:5-scale model and a series of photo-real digital drawings

In his conclusion, Steve Cropley was clear that the end of the project represented only the beginning of a typical 3-year new car programme, but “many of the decisions and conclusions about the P42’s concept, features and inner workings are mature. They could work. Were we able to continue, we believe we have a good basis to do so.”

To read about Share P42 in depth, please click on the links below which will take you directly to the Autocar website.

Read Part 1 here

Read Part 2 here

Read Part 3 here