Dezeen Magazine

EK by Roth Architecture
EK by Roth Architecture

Roth Architecture creates electric car for navigating narrow Tulum roads

Tulum-based design studio Roth Architecture has created an electric car accented with local materials to offer a "tranquil journey amidst nature" along the local roads.

The EK car was created under the studio's Azulik brand, which includes a resort, art museum, restaurants and the studio's "insect-wing" office spanning a property along the coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

An electric car in the forest
Roth Architecture has created an electric car

It has an organic style with "elegant lines", similar to the one that dominates much of the Azulik property.

The EK car was designed to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuel transportation, in line with what the studio calls its commitment to the "urgent demands of the Earth".

The interior of a car
It was made to navigate the narrow roads of future residential development and Tulum at large

It was also made to navigate the curving roads of an upcoming residential project by Azulik, according to the studio, which will include luxury villas and 84 apartments across four towers.

"Our vehicle design blends comfort and sustainability and offers a tranquil journey amidst nature," said the studio. "By addressing Tulum's narrow roads, our electric car enhances mobility while reducing noise pollution and promoting a serene environment."

A wooden steering wheel in car
The EK car fits three people and reaches speeds of up to 22 miles per hour

The EK, which means 'star' in the Mayan language, fits three people and reaches speeds up to 22 miles per hour (36 kilometres per hour). It is approximately 13 feet long, seven feet wide and seven feet high (four x two x two metres).

It consists of a fibreglass body covered in silver automotive paint on a three-wheel chassis. Two large, open-air windows were placed on either side of the car, while its front and rear windshields are protected with transparent acrylic.

Strip of wood on car
It consists of a fibreglass body and acrylic front and read windshield

The interior is filled with a bed-like seat unit, with two seats stretched out in the back and the third in the driver's position, supported by a small backrest.

The seats are covered in a cream waterproof fabric, with a zapote wood detailing found in insignia and a central cupholder.

The steering wheel, which consists of winged handles, was also made with the local wood.

Local craftmanship techniques and contemporary construction methods like 3D-printing were used to construct the vehicle, which was produced in the studio's Fab Lab.

Wood with logo
Its production combines modern and local techniques

"By integrating local craftsmanship and materials, the vehicle becomes a symbol or collaboration between modern design innovation and traditional artisanal techniques, reflecting a harmonious relationship between creativity and the natural world," said the studio.

Other details include handmade emblems made of ceramic and slim, rounded headlights.

An electric car red lighting strip
The first model will act as a prototype for further iteration

Constructed by Azulik Mobility, the first EK is a prototype, with plans to build more that will be available for people to drive within in the perimeter of Azulik's residences.

Upon further development and testing, the studio plans to release the vehicle into other areas of Tulum with "controlled traffic and limited speed".

Ultimately, the studio sees the vehicle as part of shaping "future mobility".

"This holistic approach, merging technology with tradition, underscores [our] commitment to sustainability and collaborative innovation in shaping future mobility," it said.

Other projects by Roth Architecture include its self-designed studio and an art gallery created with the great-grandson of Peggy Guggenheim.

The photography is courtesy of Roth Architecture and AZULIK Mobility.

More images

Drawing of electric car
Render of electric car
Render of electric car
Silver car with white leather seats
An electric car on road
Little electric car in front of curving residences
Steering wheel
Car fabrication
Car fabrication
Car fabrication