Would you pay $37 a week to have access to an all electric car with 250 miles of range and a top speed of 92 miles an hour that can accelerate to 60 in 7 seconds? For most of us, the only question is “Where do I sign up?” Amber Mobility of Eidenhoven in the Netherlands plans to offer just such a car. It says prototypes will appear in 2017 and cars people can actually buy will be available in 2018.
Its first electric car, appropriately called Amber One, is meant of move four people efficiently and as cheaply as possible. Once you sign up for an Amber One subscription, you will be entitled to grab whichever vehicle is closest and use it to go where you need to go. The company says its car will come with a guarantee that an Amber One will be available “within walking distance at any time.” That may be true for tightly packed European cities like Eidenhoven but may not be true in the hinterlands.
Amber says its electric car is designed to be modular so that it can be upgraded throughout its lifetime. That means it can be updated as new technology and improvements become available. It has been designed as a connected car from the ground up according to the company, which should help reduce overall operating costs. Semi and fully autonomous driving capabilities will be integrated later. Amber says self driving technology will further reduce costs associated with damage from accidents.
Amber One is a response to the fact that most cars sit idle 96% of the time. In urban areas, all those unused cars take up valuable space that could be used for other purposes, like bicycle pathways or green space. It also means that people pay a premium for owning an automobile because expenses like taxes, insurance, depreciation, and parking go on whether the car is being used or not. Car sharing is clearly the wave of the future, with even Elon Musk saying that when autonomous driving systems are perfected, Tesla owners will be able to recoup some of their ownership costs by renting their cars out when they are not being used.
There are still some details to be worked out, such as who cleans the car and who is responsible for plugging it in. Cities will need to agree on where shared cars can be parked. BMW recently pulled out of a car sharing program in San Francisco after getting into a controversy with the city about where customers could leave the cars when they were through with them.
But those are just details to be worked out. Having access to a non-polluting electric car for less than $2,000 a year? Like I said at the beginning, “Where do I sign up?”
Source: TechCrunch Photo credit: Amber Mobility