Indi One first look: part EV, part gaming PC

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As established automakers try to harness the electric revolution, new electric vehicle startups are dreaming up innovative ways to meet the needs of a new generation of drivers. And after seeing an early version of its next car at the New York Auto Show, it feels like we’ve created the first electric car designed for gamers.

When it comes to general specs and performance, INDIEV’s Indi One seems to be using the Tesla Model Y as a model. The base model is expected to cost around $45,000 and includes a 75 kWh battery, all-wheel drive and a range of 230 miles. Meanwhile, the $65,000 premium version will sport a 95 kWh battery with a range of 300 miles and a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. Even the shape of the Indi One is somewhat reminiscent of Tesla’s popular electric crossover, sporting a fairly short hood, room for five passengers and a sloping rear end.

The Indi One’s VIC lives under the hood, which means you won’t have any money.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

However, where INDIEV changes things is on the inside. Indeed, unlike other cars, the premium version of the Indi One has a VIC, or in-vehicle computer designed to allow occupants to play games, edit photos and videos, or even stream live on the go.

Now, other automakers like Tesla have tried their hand at the in-car game, with owners enjoying support for titles like the Witcher 3, Stardew Valley, Cyberpunk 2077, and more about its vehicles. But the few dozen games available in Tesla’s Arcade feature are still a far cry from what you can get on PC marketplaces like Steam or the Epic Game Store. Also, due to NHTSA regulations, you can’t game on a Tesla’s main screen while the car is in motion, which makes a lot of sense, but it’s a bummer for passengers to looking for alternative entertainment.

The Indi One has two different interior screens: one running Android Automotive and the other running Windows.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

But on the One, INDIEV circumvents this restriction by having two large screens on the dashboard of the car. There’s a main infotainment screen powered by Android Automotive, along with a second screen on the passenger side running Windows. Not only does this mean guests can play while on the go, but it also means you can install just about any PC app you want. The car’s gaming credentials aren’t too bad either. At the show, INDIEV reps told me that the car currently comes with an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU. But by the time the 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 crunch).

While it’s probably not easy, INDIEV says the car’s GPU can even be user-replaceable, so you shouldn’t have to worry about buying a brand new car after a few years when it’s worn out. struggling to play the latest AAA games. And while I haven’t had a chance to play on it myself, I was able to fire up Twitch, take a look at the standard Windows UI running underneath, and see the configuration of in-car streaming of One 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, since there’s no built-in mouse, keyboard, or gamepad, you’ll need to find a control setup that meets your needs.

The Indi One's Windows computer allows users to install virtually any application of their choice, including live streaming software and games.
The Indi One VIC will run Windows so you can install games or apps like Streamlabs, which you can see running here.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

INDIEV has also partnered with markers of ARK Park so guests can immerse themselves in virtual reality, with the game set to mimic the movement and turns of the car to reduce motion sickness. Additionally, the VIC will be open-source and have an SDK for developers, so if you’re not afraid of code, you can create custom apps and routines. And thanks to military-grade vibration reduction surrounding the VIC, the car’s gaming components shouldn’t come loose due to unexpected bumps in the road. How’s that for geek?

Finally, INDIEV claims the One supports blockchain integration, allowing the car’s computer to function as a node for a non-specific decentralized ledger. This means the car could reap some passive income when you’re not driving it, which seems like a good idea in an alternate world where crypto has overtaken cash and credit, but I don’t think we do. let’s still be. I also have to point out that it’s hard to say how much gaming juice or runtime a Node will have on the One lineup, which could make both of those features useless if you’re running low on battery.

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


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

Sure, EV startups are kind of a dime a dozen these days. And for every successful Tesla, there are sure to be others that crash and burn before they reach critical mass. But as someone who’s always wondered why automakers aren’t trying to get more utility out of computers inside, I appreciate the ambition. And as Tesla and other electric vehicle makers have already proven, the technology inside a car matters just as much as how it looks or how it drives.

Now, I admit the novelty of being able to play in your car makes it hard to tell if INDIEV’s effort 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 they are, the idea of ​​adapting to a quick round of Apex Legends while reloading or rummaging through Civil 6 as a passenger on a road trip sounds fantastic. So if you’ve ever dreamed of an electric vehicle that can push the Pixels as well as your device at home, the One offers an interesting glimpse of a next-gen driving machine.

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

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