CEO Lewis Horne
Swedish start-up Uniti has revealed an all-new electric model, One, with the promise that it can “reinvent the modern city car”.
The company, which has partnered with German tech giant Siemens, has ambitious plans to produce up to 50,000 units per year. The car is due to arrive on roads in 2019, priced from €14,900 (£12,980).
Uniti has worked with several companies including energy supplier E.ON, which is offering its customers five years' worth of free energy to charge a Uniti at home.
The brand claims that the One will produce 75% less CO2 over its lifetime - from manufacturing to disposal - than a conventional vehicle. CEO Lewis Horne said the electric vehicle, 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 and described the car’s structure as “scalable”, with two, four and five-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 weighs 450kg.
Horne explained that the One's design is centred on maximising battery performance, with the highest-ranking version predicted to be capable of 186 miles on one charge.
Power comes from a 22kWh battery and 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 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.
The company is now taking €149 deposits, with 1000 orders already having been placed. The first customers will be offered the chance to take part in a beta testing scheme, in which they run the car and provide feedback to finalise its development.
Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin 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.
Designer Chris Bangle revealed an electric city car concept at the Los Angeles motor show earlier this week. His design, called Redspace, looks set to be used by Chinese EV lorry manufacturer CHTC and sold in China as an answer to the country's growing traffic and air-quality problem.