Swedish start-up to reveal new Uniti electric city car

by Sam Sheehan, Autocar UK 01 Dec 2017

A Swedish start-up called Uniti will reveal an all-new electric model next week with the promise that it can “reinvent the modern city car”.

The company, which has partnered with German tech giant Siemens for the project, has ambitious plans to produce up to 50,000 units per year once the car arrives on roads from 2019.

CEO Lewis Horne said Uniti’s small EV, developed as part of a three-year programme, is made from recyclable carbonfibre and organic composite materials to reduce its environmental impact.

Horne explained that these materials can be manufactured via a fully automated process. He describes the car’s structure as “scalable”, with two- and four-seat variants planned for production.

The autonomous-capable car, which is classed as an electric heavy quadricycle like the Renault Twizy, has been made with lightness as a priority. It is expected to weigh 450kg.

Horne explained that the car's design is centred on maximising battery performance, with the highest-ranking version predicted to be capable of 186 miles to one charge.

Power will come from two electric motors producing a combined 40bhp peak, enabling the car to accelerate from zero to 50mph in an estimated sub-3.5sec time.

Inside, passengers will face a full-width interactive head-up display, with the car’s controls operated “electronically” rather than with switches and levers. The car will have human-machine interface technology, meaning features will be controllable via open dialogue.

Uniti produced a concept virtual-reality cockpit called Kepler Pod last year to demonstrate the effectiveness of such systems.

An evaluation prototype for the city car will be shown at a reveal event called U17 in Landskrona, southern Sweden, on 7 December. Following this, Uniti plans to begin customer deliveries in 2019, with production due to take place at a plant in Malmö.

Uniti’s home market of Sweden and surrounding Nordic countries have been among the world’s quickest to adopt electric cars. Norway was the first to pledge a ban on petrol and diesel cars with the intention to have only electric vehicles on sale from 2025.

Chris Bangle revealed an electric city car concept at the LA motor show earlier this week. His design, called Redspace, looks set to be used by Chinese EV lorry manufacturer CHTC Group and sold in China as an answer to its growing traffic and air-quality problem.

Also read: Leading automotive brands join forces to reduce raw material usage 

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