Millennials are officially old news. Now, generation Z–the cohort of people born after the late ’90s–is about to get behind the wheel and hit the road. This is why Nissan is asking itself a simple question: How do you market a car to an entire generation of people whose eyeballs are perpetually glued to a touchscreen?
Enter the Teatro for Dayz, which is essentially one giant touchscreen. The name sounds like generation Z gibberish, but that’s exactly the point. It’s a concept car aimed at “share natives” who want to learn to drive a car only if it happens inside a physical manifestation of social media as an electric Kool-Aid acid test gestalt.
And this is completely different from just customizing a car. The idea is for the car to have the ability to match any given mood of its gen-Z passengers. In other words, it’s for people who want to be able to skin their car’s interior like they change their iPhone wallpaper or their profile pic.
Every surface inside the Teatro for Dayz is pure white by default. When the car is off, all the driver sees is a steering wheel, an accelerator, and brake pedals, but when on, can be customized according to the driver’s preferences, like Android widgets. For example, you could download a fuel efficiency meter, or see how many tons of CO2 your car put off during a custom trip. You can also effectively skin the inside of the vehicle, so that the inside of the car reflects the season of the year. You could even get more extreme with it, transforming the inside of your car into a 360-degree IMAX of the latest Fast and the Furious movie, endlessly on repeat.
Nissan doesn’t really explain how the entire inside of the car is a display, although given the fact that no one exactly wants to sit on a hot glass LCD, my guess is the plan is to use some kind of projection mapping to achieve the effect. Either way, to this gen-Xer, the Teatro for Dayz feels like a fever-dream blend of genuinely good ideas (software-customizable interface panels and gauges) and ones that make me pray that self-driving cars take over the roads sooner rather than later. When I’m crossing the street on my walker, a few decades from now, I’d rather be run over by a robot than a “share native” driving a living Snapchat rainbow barfie around town. But for now, the Nissan Teatro for Dayz remains just a concept.