Indi A first look: Share EV, share game PC

As established automakers try to seize the electric revolution, new EV startups are inventing innovative ways to cater to a new generation of drivers. And after checking out an early version of the upcoming car at the New York Auto Show, it feels like it may have created the first electric car made for gamers.

When it comes to overall specifications and performance, it seems that INDIEV’s Indi One uses the Tesla Model Y as a template. The base model is estimated to cost around $ 45,000 and has a 75 kWh battery, four-wheel drive and a range of 230 miles. Meanwhile, the $ 65,000 premium version will have a 95 kWh battery with a range of 300 miles and a 0 to 60 time of 4.2 seconds. Even the shape of the Indi One is a bit reminiscent of Tesla’s popular electric crossover, with a short hood, room for five passengers and a sloping rear end.

Indi One's VIC or vehicle-integrated computer is located under the car's hood, where a frunk can be in other electric cars.
Indi One’s VIC lives under the hood, which means you do not get a frunk.

Sam Rutherford / Engadget

But where INDIEV changes things come inside. This is because unlike other cars, the premium version of the Indi One has a VIC, or vehicle-integrated computer designed to let passengers play games, edit photos and videos, or even livestream on the go.

Now other car manufacturers such as Tesla have run games in the car, with owners enjoying support for titles such as Witcher 3, Stardew Valley, Cyberpunk 2077, and more on the vehicles. But the few dozen or so games available in Tesla’s Arcade feature are still far from what you can get from PC marketplaces like Steam or the Epic Game Store. In addition, due to NHTSA regulations, you can not play on the main screen of a Tesla while the car is in motion, which makes a lot of sense, but is a bummer for all passengers seeking alternative entertainment.

Indi One has two different interior screens: one running Android Automotive, and another powered by Windows.

Sam Rutherford / Engadget

But on the One, INDIEV gets around that limitation by having two large screens on the car’s dashboard. It is a main infotainment screen powered by Android Automotive, along with a second passenger-side screen that runs Windows. Not only does this allow guests to play as they move, it also means you can install just about any PC app you want. The car’s game ID is also not that shabby. At the show, INDIEV representatives told me that the car currently has an Intel Core i7 CPU and an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU. But when One officially goes on sale next year, the company hopes to upgrade it to an RTX 3080 or better (assuming we’re still not in the middle of a chip crisis).

While it probably will not be easy, INDIEV says that the car’s GPU can even be replaced by the user, so you should not worry about buying a brand new car after a few years when it struggles to play the latest AAA games. . And although I did not get the chance to play on it myself, I was able to pull up Twitch, get a look at the standard Windows interface that runs below and see One’s power setup in the car in action. INDIEV even allows users to access one of the car’s built-in cameras to capture your face, so there’s no need for an external webcam. That said, because it is not a built-in mouse, keyboard or gamepad, you need to figure out a control setup that works for your needs.

Indi One's Windows-based computer allows users to install virtually any app they want, including live streaming software and games.
Indi One’s VIC will run Windows so you can install games or apps like Streamlabs, which you can see running here.

Sam Rutherford / Engadget

INDIEV also teamed up with markers off ARK Park so guests can dive into VR, with the game set to mimic the car’s movements and turns to reduce travel sickness. In addition, VIC will be open source and will have an SDK for developers, so if you are not afraid of any code, you can create custom apps and routines. And thanks to military-grade vibration reduction around the VIC, the car’s game components should not come loose due to unforeseen bumps in the road. How is it for nerds?

Finally, INDIEV says that One supports blockchain integration, so that the car’s computer can act as a node for a non-specific decentralized general ledger. This means that the car can bring in some passive income when you are not driving it, which sounds like a great idea in an alternative world where crypto has taken over cash and credit, but I do not think we are there yet. I should also point out that it is difficult to say how much juice playing or running a node will have on One’s range, which can make both of these functions unclear if you have little battery.

Gallery: The Indi One at the New York Auto Show in 2022 | 5 pictures

Of course, EV startups are a bit of a dime a dozen these days. And for every Tesla that makes it big, there are guaranteed to be others that crash and burn before they reach critical mass. But as someone who has always wondered why car manufacturers are not trying to get more out of the computers inside them, I appreciate the ambition. And as we have seen from Tesla and other EV manufacturers have already proven, the technology inside a car means as much as how it looks or drives.

Now I admit that the newness of being able to play in your car makes it difficult to say whether INDIEV’s attempt will be a success or even help sell an extra car or two. But as someone who never has enough time to play games as it is, the idea of ​​fitting in a quick round with Apex Legends while charging or plugging in Civ 6 as a passenger during a car ride sounds wonderful. So if you’ve ever dreamed of an EV that can squeeze pixels as well as your rig at home, One gives an interesting glimpse of a next-generation driving machine.

Reservations for Indi One are available now before the official release date next year in Q2 2023.

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