Eighteen months ago, we reported on a project by engineering students at Sweden’s Lund University to design and build a new kind of electric car made with sustainable materials that will serve as a model for urban transportation in the future. The group actually raised € 1.2 million via crowd funding to get its program underway.
Now, German industrial giant Siemens has entered into a partnership with the group to produce their Uniti two seater electric car. Prototypes will be available later this year. The partners are planning to begin producing as many as 50,000 cars a year beginning in 2018.
The Uniti L7e will have a 15 kW electric motor and a top speed of 80 miles per hour. It will be manufactured using sustainable composites. The car will weigh less than 900 pounds and have a range of approximately 90 miles.
It is expected to sell for the equivalent of $22,835 in Sweden. That is more than $1,000 less than the electric version of the two seat Smart Car in Sweden. It will be steered by way of a device that resembles a Wii controller more than a traditional steering wheel.
Lewis Horne, the CEO of Uniti Sweden, says the deal gives his company “the opportunity to not only develop a sustainable car, but also manufacture it in a sustainable way at a large scale.”
Ola Janson of Siemens Industry Software said he was “really looking forward to having that partnership” between “Siemens as the very old, stable company, yet still innovative” and Uniti Sweden made up of “young people, innovative people, (who) don’t have the legacy, don’t have the limits like myself.”
Dreams are wonderful things, but as even the redoubtable Elon Musk has learned, building a car and marketing it successfully are really, really hard things to do. “There definitely are some famous success stories of automotive startups, but there are a lot more companies that are trying to break in right now, some that we think will succeed and some that won’t,” said Tim Stevens, editor of the website Roadshow. “Making a car is very, very difficult thing, and certifying that car worldwide is very difficult thing too.”
Source: Associated Press