Richard Kleijn – RoadKart

The RoadKart is what it is; a go-kart for the open road. It’s mission is to prove that you can enjoy more with less. Less weight, less power, less pollution, less consumption. Like a go-kart, it offers maximum driving fun with minimal means.
It weighs only 580 kg and is powered by a 999cc 3 cylinder turbo petrol engine developing a modest 117 BHP. Thanks to its low weight and the open construction the RoadKart offers a thrilling driving experience, with the fuel consumption of a small city car.
Like a go-kart the RoadKart is without compromise. It is meant for one thing and one thing only: driving fun. Therefore it is stripped to the bare essence of the automobile; a chassis, a drive-train, four wheels and a minimum of bodywork. It’s not trying to be practical or premium, sporty yet comfortable, classy nor stylish. It’s not branded, instead it’s purpose built. In today’s world full of compromise, some don’t!
Apart from being cocky and cheeky this project demonstrates that you can design and develop a road legal car with a small, yet highly dedicated and skilled project team and limited fundings. Sponsors did not support the project by means of funding, but rather by bringing in their own technological expertise or by supplying their own products. Several students graduated on this project and the close involvement of the sponsors has lead to new collaborations. The course of this project has both served educational goals as well as bringing new business opportunities.
By making use of proven and affordable technology for the drive-train and suspension the limited budget could be completely dedicated to the development of the chassis and the body. This approach made it possible to realize a completely new design and chassis. The RoadKart complies with all current road legislation so that it can be taken into small series production if it should raise enough interest.


Richard Kleijn

Form follows function. But form can also explain, communicate or facilitate function. Therefore in my opinion form is function. Although any form should be function, for this defines “industrial design”, it’s much more than that. Form is also about expression, seduction and increasingly more about branding. Form is the interface between technology and society, between engineer and consumer.
The automobile is a function of its own, it has even defined its own functionality: auto mobility. It’s a vectorial body moving in space, subject to laws of nature like aerodynamics and the laws of motion. At the same time it’s an enclosed space of its own, a safe and comfortable habitat that has to protect its occupants from these laws of nature. This bilateral engagement between form and function has always fascinated me. There is no other form in which this engagement is more present than in the automobile. Designing an automobile is a tremendous challenge to any industrial designer.
But it’s not just this challenge that has gotten me involved in the design and development of means of mobility. It’s, very predictably of course, also the passion for the automobile as the ultimate combination between speed and design. This passion has led me to Milano before, when I followed my cuore sportivo to the Centro Stile of Alfa Romeo in Arese. During this internship I learned about the essence of beauty (la bellezza necessaria), a valuable education that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
After having studied both architecture and industrial design I graduated as an architect and have worked on several projects that were always related to mobility. Not just automobiles, but also bicycles, sailing boats and motor yachts. One of these projects is the RoadKart, a project that is showcased here today. I set up my own studio Mobitecture Advanced Design (www.mobitecture.com) in 2009 am working as an independent, self employed industrial designer with a strong focus on mobility ever since.

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