Image: Hyundai, Screenshot: Umar Shakir / The Verge

New car events are usually cringe-inducing, full of pointless pyrotechnics, emotionless futurescapes, and hapless CEO antics. Remember the cybertruck window smash? It's simpler times. With some degree of hesitation, I have to tell you that the latest exhibit in this ongoing series of "car companies present depressing visions of the future" is a video from the Korean company.

The video was supposed to show the sleek-looking Ioniq 6 which has a 77.4kWh battery and 373 miles of range. We got a lot of buzzwords that were meant to appeal to a youthful demographic, but went about it in a bad way.

car companies present depressing visions of the future

The artist in the video is called Mia and she is putting on a show. It's so real! Trashion is the art of using waste and recycled materials to make new things. I am not opposed to this, but I wonder if a trashion artist like Mia can afford a brand new electric vehicle, given the high dealer costs and unsustainable student debt in her demographic. I'm not sure what to say.

Mia is able to transform into dresses and rompers and shit with the help of her car, the Ioniq 6. Gen Z is an unclassifiable career who loves zero-tailpipe emissions. It's likely that that adds up in the eyes of the faceless executives who greenlit this production.

Things take a turn for the worse for Mia. Is she self-employed? She has a busy schedule. She was forced to sleep in her car because she wasn't allowed enough time to take breaks.

The Ioniq 6 is said to be the perfect place for a nap for young professionals. The interior is made from sustainable materials and has 64 different colors to choose from. The automaker says it was designed to be a healing space.

Setting aside whether Mia could get away with sleeping in her car without getting slapped with a ticket for vagrancy, the vision of the future that's on display in this video isn't the idealization of freedom thatHyundai thinks it is. It conjures up images of gig economy workers being forced to sleep in their cars to make ends meet. Images of young people being forced to work long hours in order to support their families is bullshit.

It should come as no surprise that Mia's trashion show won't be in the real world. She doesn't seem to include the design and creation of real clothes, just outfits for virtual minifigs. She was doing all that driving.

it should come as no shock Mia’s trashion show is in the metaverse

Joan, a character in the video who is a social content creator, uses her EV's many plugs to get her hair straightened as she prepares to stream her show in the virtual reality format. Again, we're presented with another "hustling" Gen Zer who doesn't have time to use her own bathroom to prepare, assuming she even has a bathroom to use

Like other car companies before it,Hyundai sees its latest EV as less a tool to get from point A to point B, but an idealized "space" for a whole panoply of activities. The idea of what we choose to do with our time is touched upon in this. It has sparked a weird, little-noticed movement in the technology and auto industries to redefine automobiles as social environments comparable to our homes and work places.

Ray Oldenburg's 1989 book The Great Good Place was the best example of the idea of the third place. He said that third places all over the world have the same features.

Oldenburg wrote that the eternal sameness of the third place overshadowed the variations in its outward appearance and seemed unaffected by the wide differences in cultural attitudes toward the typical gathering place of informal public life. The beer joint in which the middle class American takes no pride can be as good as the coffeehouse in Vienna.

Third places include barber shops and cafes. Can cars with their enclosed environments and demands on our attention be considered a third place? Traffic congestion, pollution, and death are some of the negative externalities. That won't stopHyundai from pitching their new EV as a viable third place, complete with mood lighting.