Some of you might be old enough to remember the Messerschmitt KR200 – or the bubble car as it was affectionately known. The bubble car gained a following that continues to this day, with the likes of the KR200 and the BMW Isetta 300 maintaining a strong fan base. Though the fifties Citroen Prototype C must be the most futuristic looking of all of these.
With the rise in popularity of the city car, it was surely only a matter of time before an automobile company delved back into the archives to work out that the combination of city car, bubble car and an electric motor should produce something quite interesting for right now.
So here we have the Uniti One electric city car from Uniti – a new company based in Sweden. They have joined forces with Siemens to come up with the retro, yet modern looking Uniti One. The company has ambitious plans to produce 50,000 units per year from their factory in Malmö from 2019, with a competitive price point starting at £12,980.
Uniti’s has some unique attention grabbing selling points to make the tiny car stand out from the crowd. How would you fancy five years of free charging from your home? That’s a big incentive, for however green an EV may be, electricity prices will no doubt continue to rise, so anything that can offset that high winter bill should be very attractive. On that green note, Uniti say that the One will produce 75% less CO2 over a lifetime from build to end of life, thanks to recyclable carbon fibre and other organic materials. Probably even more eyebrow raising than ‘free fuel’ is the claim that the One could be scalable, with even 5-seater versions possible.
You might remember the space age looks of the Renault Twizy microcar when it was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Back then it caused quite a lot of interest, with industry soothsayers predicting that this would be the future of electric automobiles. In actual fact, the industry went the other way, realising that they needed to make EVs that looked and performed like normal cars to ease any doubts that the public may have. It worked. So maybe now is the right time to revisit the microcar.
The Uniti One is powered by 2 electric motors and has a 22kWh battery producing 40bhp. That might not sound a lot, but considering the lightweight of just 45kg, the power to weight ratio should enable the One to power from 0 to 50mph in around 3 seconds.
Inside, the retro feel is gone completely, with speech-operated controls from inside the Keplar Pod interior. The Keplar Pod is something that Uniti revealed a while ago to show just how effective and efficient their human/electric control interaction can be. The idea is that the Uniti One will operate in a rather similar way to your smartphone, being intuitive and seamless.
Uniti are already taking orders (with a deposit of just €149 required). The company has taken around 1,000 pre-orders already and will use some of these customers for guinea pig beta testing to help iron our any issues before mass production ensues. Safety-wise, the company aim to get a top NCAP rating of 5 stars, something that Swedish vehicles are normally pretty good at achieving.