Like many start-ups, fledgling Swedish brand Uniti aims to disrupt the automotive industry.
Not just with the One, a three-seat electric car engineered and (initially) set to be built in the UK, unitibut further into the future, with a business model aimed at selling the car to companies as a mobility service for its employees rather than to individual customers.
We speak to the firm’s CEO, Australian-born Lewis Horne, to gain an insight into his outfit’s plans and the man himself.
You don’t see yourself as a car enthusiast, but you’re CEO of a car company. How did you end up here?
“I’m not a car guy. I’m a technology generalist. I’m pretty inspired by all of the stuff that is happening and all of the different people working to change the way the world works, which is critical. I’m somebody who doesn’t like cars very much! But I do like really beautiful, clean, simple consumer electronics – like a MacBook. I think: why can’t we have that in a car?”
Describe your operating model and why it’s different from that used by other car companies.
“We have only shown a small portion of our plan – the business to consumer [B2C] component – but there are many more big stories to come. Our model is based on recurring revenue, not traditional sales. We’re like Apple. Apple does not produce anything – they are a software, design and branding company – and that’s the same operational model that we have. There are plenty of people who are great at manufacturing and we won’t try to be best at that.”
But you are building the cars yourself, for now?
“Yes – low-volume production in Norwich for the first couple of hundred units and we use that to parlay into bigger-volume production. It’s baby steps. Is it the best place for high-volume production? I don’t necessarily think making 50,000 cars in the UK is a good idea.”