Electric cars: fast, far, cheap. Choose any two.
That was a common bromide among electric vehicle engineers for years. Granted, back in the EV1 days when we playing with electric Consuliers it seemed right … but was it necessarily right?
That was a question the engineering students over at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) hoped to answer in the negative back in July, when they promised the world a stylish, technologically advance electric car that would go far enough, fast enough, cheaply enough to drop our jaws.
It seemed like the most ambitious kind of vaporware a few months ago, but the TUM team were as good as their word, and showed a fully built (and running!) prototype of their MUTE electric coupe that. Looked. Amazing.
The end result is very Target-chic (pronounced “tar-jay”), with low-cost, lightweight composite bits finished in fashionably (Apple-y?) colors with bright, digital instruments. Check out the results for yourself …
… see what I mean? Very modern, very fashionable, and very – does “young” make sense here?
Whether it does or doesn’t, a sporty, modern-looking car like this that undercuts the plug-in Prius and Honda Fit EV on price targets by being simple (rather than by being crappy and/or prone to fiery explosions) is exactly the kind of car that would naturally appeal to college students and young professionals – the very people who built the thing, in other words.
As a car, TUM’s MUTE weighs in at a scant 1100 lbs. Its low mass, coupled with a slippery body and powerful 15kW motor, is good for an honest (electronically-limited) 75 mph top speed and a range of more than 60 miles per charge. According to the TUM team (anyone else notice the car’s antacid-like matte finish?) the MUTE’s 10kWh li-ion battery pack can be fully charged in just 3 hours with a household 220V connector.
Not bad, kids. I hope you got an A.