Behind The Scenes: Design

A Design that Complements the Rider

Photo:Masahiro Toriyama (Design Department)

Design is what differentiates the WHILL Model Ci from other mobility devices on the market. We interviewed designer, Masahiro Toriyama, about the creative process behind the Model Ci.


The first thing to consider is the silhouette.

I was in charge of the Model Ci design — Model C in Japan — I was formerly an exterior and interior designer for an automotive company. The experience and creative spirit I cultivated in my previous position was very helpful while designing the Model Ci.

When designing something new, I start with the silhouette. Making a product starts by first creating a cool, eye-catching silhouette. While creating the initial drawings, I consider looks first, then factor in convenience and functionality.

As you can see below, when you look at the Model Ci diagonally from behind, from rear wheel to the battery, the arm support has a straight line with the same angle. We call it the GoGoLine. This beautiful symmetry, expresses how a WHILL personal EV moves forward. If this line was bent, or the battery was sticking out from the straight line, it wouldn’t look sleek. Ensuring this line was straight, was something the engineers and I obsessed over.

Model Ci concept drawing

The GoGoLine starts from rear wheels, moving up the arm cover to the controller.


Express yourself with the Model Ci

The WHILL Model Ci is used by a wide range of people, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. It’s important to be comfortable and confident at any age. And that’s why there are eight color options for Model Ci arm covers, something for users of any generation.

The color options range from classic to fun to elegant. The pink and gold arm covers have a champagne tone to them, creating a classy look. The shade of pink we chose had not been used on mobility devices in the past, and gold is always a popular pick.

Blue and black can be difficult colors — sometimes blue creates a melancholic impression, so we tried out several options to create a calm, fresh, and positive impression. We adjusted the amount of pearl to achieve the look of dark black from a distance, but a delicate, beautiful black from close up.

We tested numerous colors for how they look in indoor and outdoor settings, and under different lighting. Seeing the color in person, you might have a completely different impression. With the Model Ci, experience the joy of selecting a color in person and that best expresses you.

We’re exploring the idea of making more components of the Ci customizable to suit users’ preferences and express their individuality. Our goal is to continue to make a personal EV that people feel is an extension of themselves. The star isn’t the EV — it’s the person. WHILL EVs help make the person and their personality shine through.


Masahiro Toriyama, WHILL Model Ci Designer
Former exterior and interior designer for Mazda’s automotive design department. Toriyama joined WHILL in 2017 as the primary designer for the Model Ci.


View Next Story: Expertly Engineering Disassembly Functionality