Are disappearing car doors the next big thing

We see so many novel automobile innovations every year that it becomes hard to keep track of them. Most are novelty ideas that never really caught on, but quite a few have stayed with us over the years. We got to see electric cars become a norm, and self-driven cars are fast becoming a reality. So maybe the world is finally ready for disappearing car doors?

The idea of a disappearing door is not exactly new. In the 1980s, BMW dared to dream up the idea with its Z1 models. Former California-based tech and innovation company Jatech brought the idea back to life with their prototype rotary drop door design, breathing new life into an old design.

A brief history of the disappearing car doors technology

Like all great innovations, it started with a stroke of genius. Tired of seeing the traditional side swinging doors and already over the gullwing design’s novelty, the Jatech company dreamt of adding something new. So, they must have thought, “Why not add disappearing doors to a car”?

It wasn’t an overnight process. The planning itself took almost a decade. They had to factor in many variables such as convenience, safety, design feasibility, and aesthetics, before going forward with their first prototype model.

They first started with a 1/8th scale model. The company had to design and build this from scratch with the technology available at the time. It was essential to making sure the design was possible before showing it to actual auto-makers.

After proving that the basic design was workable, full-scale models were produced, and the idea hit the auto industry by storm. However, the novelty could not sustain the buzz, and the idea faded into the annals of history.

Though the Jatech company is no longer active today, they introduced the world to a new idea. They brought in a new possibility for the way we do everyday things. They envisioned that even something as ordinary as opening a car door could be modernized.

Who knows what else the introduction of this technology had in store for us. Here are a few of the possible advantages and shortcomings that could have come with this ingenious technology.

car without doors

Advantages of disappearing car doors technology?

Easier to open in crowded spaces 

The key advantage of disappearing doors is that they fold underneath the car instead of swinging outwards like conventional doors. This makes them much easier to open in crowded places like parking lots and heavy traffic.

Helpful if your hands are full

Since you don’t have to use your hands to open the disappearing car door, they can be quite useful when both of your hands are filled up. So, even if you’re dealing with a handful of groceries or a struggling toddler, you don’t have to worry about opening your car door. Push a button and it will slide wide open.

Safer than conventional swinging doors

Many accidents have been caused by oncoming cars or other objects in motion slamming into open car doors. By creating a retractable disappearing car door, this potential hazard can be reduced or eliminated.

Another great thing is that disappearing doors give you an uninterrupted view of your side mirrors. This allows you to monitor incoming traffic continually and safely decide when to exit the car.

Some evidence even suggests that a one-piece disappearing door is safer than a single entry in the event of a side collision.

Why disappearing car doors never catch on?

Security concerns

Opening your doors fully like that may pose a security and health risk. Doors that open fully expose you to robbery attacks and other dangers. Children and even adults can easily fall out or drop things from the open sides.

auto without doors

Inconvenient for adverse weather conditions 

Imagine having to open your door fully every time you wanted to get in or out. You wouldn’t be able to quickly dash from your car when it’s raining or slide behind the wheel in a snowstorm. This fully exposes you and your vehicle to various harsh weather conditions.

Untested design

One of the reasons swinging doors are still in fashion is because they are simple, durable, and work. A disappearing door might look cool, but it is an extremely complex piece of technology. There are so many things that could go wrong and prevent the door from opening correctly. Unless you get into an accident, the worst thing that can go wrong with swinging doors is squeaky hinges.


We have to face the facts here. Most new technologies are not exactly pocket-friendly. With the complexity of the design, it’s improbable that disappearing car doors will be anything but an expensive luxury for quite some time. It took a decade to build, and it might take another decade before we saw any form of mass production.
While disappearing doors never became a norm, there is still hope that the idea might be revisited someday. You can learn more about disappearing car doors at

About the author

Andrew Clark