I've advocated for the small van as an appealing car design on several occasions, and while I'm still absolutely an advocate for the well-executed little-room-on-wheels, actually seeing this idea taken to its conclusion is still a bit jarring. But, I talked the talk, so let's walk the walk and really look at the OneDoorCar concept from designer Alexander Createric.
At first glance, it looks like what would happen if someone decided to make a cartoon called Winnebago Babies! as some kind of misguided promo tie-in. It's a cube, right about 8'6" square for each side, and manages to sit four people and their luggage. To compare, it's shorter than a Smart Car.
The layout of the car reminds me a bit of an airport shuttle van more than anything else. Luggage is stashed in the deep central aisle, and as the name suggests, all access is via a single centrally-placed door at the rear. The engine is sort of mid/rear mounted, but all the way on the passenger's side. I suspect the battery and fuel tank and other equipment mirrors it on the left, which, along with the weight of the driver, should keep the box from being too lop-sided. Access to those back seats looks pretty tricky to me, though.
These boxy rooms-on-wheels have certainly come up before, mostly from Japan, where both road space and privacy is at a premium. Also, there was the infamous Quasar Unipower, a remarkable French greenhouse-on-wheels that managed to sell 15 copies. The fact that these keep coming up as concept ideas, and the success of such almost-there cars as the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube (as well as the many kei vans in Japan) makes me think at some point some company's gonna take the leap and build one of these things. And I'm kind of excited by that idea.
I personally think this particular concept is flawed in the focus on more people per linear foot as opposed to the multipurpose room on wheels approach. If I'm going to drive a box, I want the interior as flexible and customizable as possible. Something that can become a people mover or camper or cargo van or whatever easily, based on what I want at any moment.
I'm curious about what it would be like to drive the One Door Car as well— it's mid-ish engined, no overhangs, wide track, wheels at corners— on paper, that sounds promising. It also has the aerodynamic qualities of a washing machine and looks a bit top-heavy.
The designer said in his email to us
This concept car was privately presented on the Geneve MotorShow 2013 to more than 20 major automakers company and this caused a big interest from them.
... and while I'm a bit skeptical of the level of interest, I'd be curious to see something like this happen. Check out his proposal PDF here, and, if you're the CEO of a major auto company, maybe take a risk, why not?