Electric cars that meet the same design and performance standards expected by the ‘iPod generation’ will be the focus of a new vehicle development programme at MIRA.
The automotive engineering firm announced it would be collaborating with green electric car organisation Global Electric Vehicle (GEVCO) to develop two technologically advanced demonstration electric vehicles that appeal to so-called Generation Y consumers.
GEVCO founder and chief executive Steve Woolley said the cars will be designed with insight provided by young volunteer participants drawn from sources such as universities local to MIRA’s Warwickshire base. The vehicles will incorporate cutting-edge technology ranging from lightweight, recyclable materials, plus next-generation powertrain and energy-storage technologies.
The company plans to begin building two demonstration cars next February and eventually develop international commercial partnerships to sell the vehicle concepts through a ‘white label’ business model.
GEVCO believes this method will dramatically reduce the cost and risk of entry into the competitive e-motive sector and allow international corporations to ‘own brand’ and sell a range of affordable vehicles in any territory.
Woolley explained: ‘The Gen Y and iPod generation are looking for something that fits their lifestyle. So rather than us trying to be the GEVCO car, this could have a brand on it that this group associates with so it becomes part of their whole lifestyle.’
Starting with a compact four-seat ‘e-city’ car, the eventual vision is to create a series of electric vehicle platforms that follow what GEVCO calls the ‘zero technology compromise’ philosophy.
Woolley said the GEVCO team has spent the last year searching for electric vehicle technologies that do not compromise between safety and functionality yet maintain a price affordable for young professionals who may still be paying off student loans.
Among other technologies, the team is considering the use of a metal air battery based on a material that is more sustainable and possesses better power density than lithium.
Woolley said GEVCO has also sourced a new motor concept from an undisclosed British company that claims its electromagnetic gearing maximises the efficiency of the current drawn from the battery.
‘We believe that will give us quite a step change in terms of the performance of the vehicle and its efficiencies,’ he added.