Our technology has been evolving over the years, paving the way for more quality-of-life innovation. This doesn’t only pertain to our digital lifestyle with the wake of the internet, mobile phones, and such; it also includes other things, from HDTVs to even a mug that could heat up your drink. Of course, the innovation of cars that could fit our current generation is also included.
Looking for a new kind of design? EV Innovation?
However, there is also a growing effort to be more environmentally friendly, something that isn’t usually associated with cars due to the use of fossil fuel as well as gas emission. Some car companies have turned to create electric vehicles to solve this. However, there’s often a lack of modernization of the cars themselves. Enter a Swedish startup car company called Uniti and their newest car, Uniti One – a small yet innovative electric vehicle that brings both technology and eco-friendly sensibilities into one. They plan to sell the Uniti One for about €14,900 but the exact price might change and is not yet final.
For starters, here are the current target specifications for their 2-seater:
- 150-300 km range
- 130 km/h top speed
- 0-80 in less than 4 seconds
- Measurements: 2910mm (l) / 1275mm (w) / 1428mm (h)
- 450 kg dry weight
- 15-24 kWh Li-ion battery
The team at Uniti has set their stance as people looking from space towards earth, something that signifies a desire for technological advancement with an awareness of the ecosystem we live in. Uniti One represents this with its small and sleek futuristic design; its unique steering console is just one of the features that they’ve created to allow a more fluid interaction between you and the car without taking your hand off the steering handle.
We reached out to Uniti for an interview, and CEO Lewis Horne (LH)was kind enough to make time and answered our questions.
DO: How did Uniti come to be?
LH: It all started as an open-innovation research project at Lund University in southern Sweden. After the research phase, we launched as an independent startup in January 2016. We had the vision to create a vehicle that made sense for electric vehicle technology, today’s consumer expectations, demand, urban mobility patterns and the environmental challenges we are facing as a society.
That means to us, rethinking the car from the ground up. The concept that we designed focuses on the vehicle with the driver at its core, instead of just working around the mechanical properties of the combustion engine age. The result is a lightweight electric car that parades an intuitive user experience on a platform that is highly scalable and emits less carbon over its lifecycle.
DO: What was the ultimate goal of the creation of Uniti? What drove the team to create this environment-friendly car?
LH: Modern passenger cars cause far too much unnecessary harm, are over complex, overweight, overpowered and overpriced for crowded city mobility. There is overwhelming evidence that we need to rethink personal urban mobility and the market is eager for something new. This was the basis for the idea of starting Uniti, first as a research project at Lund University. After achieving a certain degree of momentum in the region, we transitioned to a startup in January 2016.
DO: Has there been any changes made since its initial design in 2015? What were those changes?
LH: The initial design in 2015 was based on futuristic concepts and included many exploratory features, such as gullwing doors. The changes that were made in the meantime are based on production feasibility, energy-efficiency and potential appeal to a broad audience.
DO: How did the design come to be? Will it come in different colors?
LH: The car design is the result of a long and tedious design process that involved many internal and external stakeholders. Uniti was basically designed from a white piece of paper, not taking the status quo of the automotive industry into perspective, neither what the general public would expect from a car. Instead, we designed Uniti with focus on maximum energy-efficiency and all the benefits that electric mobility technologies offer. The color range for the Uniti One is not final yet.
DO: How was the experience of working to create this car?
LH: The experience has been very intense, and a lot of work and sacrifice of the entire team has been going into where Uniti is today. Right after our first very successful equity crowdfunding campaign, we started our own YouTube series in late 2016 to show the entire journey of bringing this very unique car to mass production.
DO: What are the current goals for this year?
LH: We have quite some news in the pipeline, which includes that we are currently finalizing our next financing round. In general, this year is all about preparing the production prototype, along with further preparing the launch plans for the different national markets and first deliveries in late 2019.
DO: Will these get shipped out globally? Will there also be availability for spare parts or services?
LH: In the initial launch phase in 2019, we are focusing on European markets, especially relevant for us are countries like Sweden, Norway, the UK, Netherlands and the DACH-region. We will launch more and more European countries over time, and are looking towards Asia for the second phase.
We designed a 5-seat concept especially for the Indian market and launched the brand with a market assessment at the Auto Show in Delhi earlier in February. Please find some more information about our ambitions in India here. As for the spare parts or services, there will be. We will announce partners for a Europe-wide service network later this year.
Thanks to Lewis for taking the time! The Uniti One is now available for pre-order for €149 refundable anytime and is expected to deliver early 2019.
YouTube: Uniti One – Swedish Electric Car
Photo credit: All used images are owned by Uniti and have been provided to us for press usage.
Editorial notice: The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.