Home » This Electric Car Was Built For Parents And Can Sense When Your Kiddo Fills Their Diaper

This Electric Car Was Built For Parents And Can Sense When Your Kiddo Fills Their Diaper

Pooping Sleeping
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There was much derision in The Autopian Slack room from the non-parents over the Arcfox Kaola, which is an electric car with about 300 miles of range that’s built for young parents and offers many extremely useful tools I wish I’d have had when my kid was an infant. This thing rules, actually, even if the idea of a crap-sensing car seat is a bit silly. Trust me, the rest of the features are fantastic.

Here’s the Slack thread if you’re curious:

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I’m not going to paste the whole thread in, but changing diapers is not the hardest or most annoying part of being a parent of a young child. First of all, infant mess doesn’t smell all that bad until they’re much larger kiddos and begin to eat real food. I presume this was so our tired, homo habilis ancestors didn’t chuck their offspring into the river after the first major blowout. I changed most of my daughter’s diapers, and I’d do it 50 times over before trying to get her to go to sleep. This is a thing non-parents fret about and it’s extremely NOT A BIG DEAL.

Adrian’s point about parents going overboard and buying things they don’t need is absolutely true. It’s why every young parent gets suddenly inundated with castoffs from slightly older peers compromising: A bottle warmer, the fancy crib that lasted exactly three months, the 12 subsequent pack-and-plays purchased or recycled by experienced parents who realize that most kids seem to prefer a $50 Amazon pack-and-play that has exactly zero of the features of the $1,500 crib.

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I was ready to dismiss this car and then I watched the video below. If you can’t watch it at work, or whatever, don’t worry. I’m going to go through all the features about this I find kinda amazing:

What Is The Arcfox Kaola?

Arcfox is a Chinese EV brand offshoot of the larger Beijing-based BAIC Group. It’s a serious brand in China with growing market share and products designed with the help of Walter de Silva, the guy who penned the Audi R8 and a bunch of other fantastic Audi and Volkswagen products.

Arcfox Koala Exterior Rear

The Kaola is an electric MPV (a tall hatchback with a sliding door) with, according to Autocar, an approximate range of around 310 miles on the Chinese test cycle. It looks sort of ID4-ish and the first prototypes have an inviting, soft lavender color offset by bright white accents. It could absolutely pass for a car in any market in the world. BAIC is a major exporter of vehicles, including to Mexico, though I haven’t seen any specific mentions of them trying to sell cars in the United States or Europe.

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So, you can’t buy it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not super cool. Let’s look at why. I’m going to start with the most useful features and work my way back down to the sillier ones.

A Changing Table For Changing The Kiddo

I have changed my daughter in multiple aircraft, including the mighty Airbus A380. I have changed her in a Fiat, the back of a GMC Yukon, balanced on my knee in the cramped bathroom of a hip Brooklyn eatery. Kids are resilient, eventually you learn how to change them anywhere.

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Still, gimme a flat and easily accessible surface any day. This little flat-folding surface looks convenient and extremely well designed. The only other company that makes a folding table this smart is freakin’ Maybach, and I bet this is cheaper. Once the kid is too big to need changing, this also seems useful for all the junk kids like to take with them on road trips.

A Little Camera To See What’s Going On Back There

Kid Camera

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This isn’t exclusive to Arcfox as the Chrysler Pacifica has a family-view camera, but this version seems perfectly designed to watch your kiddo. This is important. The amount of energy and love you pour into your kid is incomprehensible if you don’t have one and their safety is paramount. My daughter is seven now and thus pretty clearly out of the SIDS window and, yet, I still have to check to make sure she’s alive when she falls asleep. I can’t help it.

A Place To Nap When Your Kid Finally Finally Gets To Sleep

Kids will sleep. They just won’t sleep on any schedule you want them to follow. The funny thing about infants, especially newborns, is that their circadian rhythm is exactly backwards since they tend to sleep in utero when mom is moving and tend to move when mom is still (i.e. sleeping). Plus, the cycle for a small child is roughly three hours.

Arcfox Sleepymom

If you don’t have kids, the best way I can describe it is it’s like the “33” episode of Battlestar Galactica, wherein an entire crew of people have to keep living the same exhausting cycle of launching fighters and transporting to new locales every 33 minutes. That’s the first six weeks of having a kid!

Arcfox Koala Rear

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Again, this is Maybach shiz right here (or Toyota Century) and I’m completely here for it. Kids love to sleep in cars and I spent a lot of my time just futzing around on my phone in our Subaru while my daughter dreamed way in the back seat. I was jealous. I’d have loved to join her.

A Custom Designed/Fit Car Seat

Most car seats are fine, even if they’re constantly getting recalled. There are numerous ways to configure your car seats and the options can get a little wild. Do you want a car seat that converts into a seat for a larger kid? Do you want one that perfectly slides into the stroller and clicks in so you don’t have to wake the kid while getting out of the car? I did not like making these decisions and it’s nice to just have a well-designed, unique car seat that is automatically fit for your car.

Arcfox Koala Smart Seat

This one also seems to have a built-in footwell and three levels of inserts, so it can grow from an infant car seat, to a toddler car seat, to a booster seat for when they get bigger. Honestly, I think I ended up buying four car seats/booster seats in the first six years of my daughter’s life so this could be a huge cost savings.

Ok, Fine, It Knows When Your Kid Poops And Other Things

Arcfox PoopingThere’s a great John Oliver comedy bit where he talks about the inflatable charcoal grill for pools he found for sale in the good ol’ U.S. of A. His point was that, while the Chinese probably manufactured it, only the genius of the American consumer would think to even want such a silly item. Guess what? The Chinese have caught up with the West in this regard.

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Our buddy and contributor Tycho has an explanation for how this works over at Car News China:

The child seat can also sense the temperature change of the seat to judge whether the baby is excreting (pooping), and the air will be automatically sucked away in an “excretion mode”.

Sure. I guess Why not?

Some other important features include:

  • A privacy curtain so the kid can be changed or the mother can breastfeed (great idea).
  • A door that opens and a car seat that automatically swings around when a parent approaches the car.
  • A little heating/cooling box with four temperature levels for keeping bottles warm or cool.
  • A camera that recognizes when the kid is upset and automatically changes the light and plays calming sounds.
  • Germicidal lamps, anti-viral a/c, and other bits to keep the air and surfaces healthy.
  • An infotainment system that tracks important dates (checkups, vaccines, et cetera).

I’m not sure how useful all the rest of this stuff is, but they’re certainly nice to have.

Overall, I’m sold on this thing. It might seem superfluous to non-breeders, but most parents end up trying to work most of these features into the car with varying aftermarket solutions. I’d have totally rocked this thing when my kid was small. The white interior, though? Hopefully, they offer a darker material because Bette would have destroyed it.

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Photos: Arcfox, CarNewsChina

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Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 year ago

I don’t have kids. I have a Ferrari. I’m happy with my choices.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago

Reminds me of the Maytag Windstar concept that had a washing machine and other appliances in it. Went to look for an old article on it and an article from here last year came up first – kudos on your SEO game. https://www.theautopian.com/that-time-ford-and-maytag-teamed-up-to-cram-a-kitchen-and-laundry-room-into-a-windstar/

Ioan Radulescu
Ioan Radulescu
1 year ago

awesome car! could have used it when my kids where still sucking the bottle. The important dates tracker is a useless thing since you probably have it on your phone, another instance of a car maker trying to catch you in their universe (yes I’m looking at you Audi and Mercedes), for a piece of hardware that you use 1h a day in average.
But one feature is missing, which I think BMW X9 has it. I’ve been complaining to our German car companies here many years ago that it’s stupidity pure to have the front passenger seat designed the same as the driver seat (mirrored). BMW did something about it the others not. Different activities require different tools! I would have expected that that front passenger seat is also adapted to activities of a parent napping, etc. Well, at least the rear seat behind it is allowing you to do that. This might be a great road trip car, since you can nicely sleep in the passenger area till your “shift” comes up.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago

Lisa Nowak, your car is ready.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago

Great article certainly reinforces my decision not to have kids. Will it notice if any of you larger more grown passengers drop a deuce, maybe an elderly parent?

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 year ago

I am not (and will never be) shopping for a baby-hauler, but I can see the value in some of these features for another audience – ultra-runners.

  • Sliding doors so you can actually access the back seat in a narrow parking space? Yes please.
  • Lie-flat seating so you can nap in the car? I am 100% here for that.
  • Privacy curtain so that the entire parking lot doesn’t have to watch you peel off your sweaty kacks? Sure, why not.
  • Heating/cooling box for soup and/or adult beverages? Sign me up.
  • Germicidal surfaces that won’t turn into a superfund site a week after I touch them with hands covered in sweat, sunscreen, Doritos and ketchup? It’s a win-win.

Honestly, if this thing was on sale in the US I would definitely go for a test-drive.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 year ago

We drove a pathfinder and a 97x for the daiper periods of my kids lives. And sometimes changing a diaper in the cargo area was even a hassle. That table seems great.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
1 year ago

It even looks like they’d sell it at Babies “R” Us (RIP).

Paul B
Paul B
1 year ago

Babies R Us is still going strong in Canada (along with Toys R Us).

That swivel out baby seat is sweet!

Drew
Drew
1 year ago

I’m a non-parent, but I like this. It seems to do the job well and provide solutions for real issues. Unfortunately, it’s not going to convince American parents to choose this over a three-row or something, but it’s a good setup for people with one to two kids who like something reasonably small. If they offered this with the table and maybe the heating/cooling box, but not all the other parent-focused stuff, it could be pretty useful for others, too. I think it would sell well to a single person doing some car camping or a couple who want some extra utility.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew

I admit i liked it for the cool paint colour

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew

In Europe it would be a hit as second car or as main car for young couples… depending on the price.
The 300ish miles range wouldn’t be a big issue as there’s a relatively good network of charging stations ( provided you have the right card ) and as a second car it’s not the one taken when going in vacation.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
1 year ago

Needs an autonomous system to drive them around when they fall asleep, but you know trying to move them inside will wake them up.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
1 year ago

Having raised kids, I can safely say that in the enclosed confines of a car, a diaper-change-early-warning-and-ventilation-system has definite advantages.

Also, they should consider the possibility of incorporating the deuce detector and hazardous fume mitigation mode into the normal car seats — for the aftermath of those ill-advised excursions to Taco Bell and such…

Last edited 1 year ago by UnseenCat
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  UnseenCat

OMFG ‘deuce detector’! XD
It might be trivially easy to take a ventilated seat and run the fan in reverse for ‘fart evacuation mode’ – it’s a good idea! I just don’t know how you’d go about marketing it to people.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

“Metabolic Misfire Mitigation Mode™”

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago
Reply to  UnseenCat

Foul Air Recycle Tank or Fart for short.

Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
1 year ago

Preach Matt! Nice looking vehicle with and a lot of the features would be fantastic to have with a kid. The ones you highlighted were all great, and amongst the ones you just listed having the seat swing to face the door would have saved a fair amount of wear and tear on my back. Also, a special ventilation system for the poopy diaper would be fine, but one for vomit would be amazing.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
1 year ago

My thoughts exactly, there is no worse smell than kid throw up. Took my step-kids to Disneyland and after a day of eating junk, the littlest threw up on the 4 hour drive home. Three adults and it was all we could do to not retch ourselves. Even after a quick cleanup, drove the whole way home with the windows down, it was the only way we could breath. Yeah, kids are fun!

Derek van Veen
Derek van Veen
1 year ago
Reply to  Inthemikelane

Once when my kids were small, we had my son in the car with one of our dogs. The dog farted (which was bad enough), but the smell caused my son to throw up all over himself.

Thank god it was the family hauler.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago

Sliding doors!

I’d love to see sliding doors on some models that aren’t the not-so-mini minivans we have. Sliding doors rule. They’re a great feature when you have kids.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago

How would you put sliding doors on anything shaped not like a minivan?

Bork Bork
Bork Bork
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Like how they put them in this.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago
Reply to  Bork Bork

In what, exactly? You didn’t post a link.

Joshua Christian
Joshua Christian
1 year ago

I think he meant the Arcfox

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 year ago

You’re probably right

ToyotaTaxPayer
ToyotaTaxPayer
1 year ago

The major feature missing is the automatic projectile vomit catcher. Must deploy automatically to catch and isolate large quantities of curdled milk or formula. My daughter ruined two minivans by getting vomit under the front seats when reenacting scenes from the exorcist. Agree on no white interiors. Otherwise, hell yeah. Would have loved it back in the day when we thought our bugs bunny edition venture with a vcr was hot stuff.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 year ago
Reply to  ToyotaTaxPayer

Its an infant secure a bucket in front of them whenever you go anywhere.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 year ago
Reply to  ToyotaTaxPayer

“My daughter ruined two minivans by getting vomit under the front seats when reenacting scenes from the exorcist.”

A wet/dry shop vac followed with industrial strength enzyme cleaner is your friend.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 year ago

The plates say Kaola, I think a parent focused car should have the ablility to allow the parents to lock themselves inside with no interruption from kids for a period of time. This could include darkening windows and a noise cancelling system as well as some darn good locks to keep the kids outside

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 year ago

I like the name. The car seems interesting, but I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t know how useful those features might be. I hope others chime in.

Also, can we get the estimated equivalency for the Chinese CLTC when it is in articles? I am trying to train myself to understand the EPA range. If they say 310miles, then at best it is 10% optimistic so possibly 280 miles?

A. Barth
A. Barth
1 year ago

This is a thing non-parents fret about

I don’t fret about it. I sit over here and enjoy the fact that I don’t need to deal with it. 🙂

Side note: according to the pics the car is called the Kaola, but in multiple spots the article calls it the Koala. I’m assuming that’s an autocorrect issue.

David Tracy
David Tracy
1 year ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Nice catch; fixed!

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