The Project

The vehicle is a 4 passenger electric car, was designed to appeal to the city driver, whom for the most part is traveling alone or with one other passenger. Part of the design criteria was to make a compact urban vehicle while not compromising interior space. A unique feature on the car is the location of the front wheels making it a very cab forward design. The development team made this possible by having the doors forward shut line open right up into the wheel well, creating ingress/egress without compromise. The cab forward profile and compact front end make it ideal to maneuver in tight traffic and crowded urban centers.

VP Design, Darren McKeage states, “To design a vehicle with presence I often look to nature that often visually communicates a purpose in the purist form. For the car, I wanted to create an image of athleticism and robustness to stand out against a sea of large sedans and SUV’s. I was influenced by animals like grey hounds and sharks that have these barrel chests and narrow waists that communicate that strength. I’ve captured that in the design through the wheel arches and upswept form in the rocker area. These features also accentuate the wheels helping create that planted stance.”

Overall efficiency and safety were criteria put on most aspects of the development and design of the car. Precedence was placed on achieving a simple easy to manufacture design with few parts. The body panel count is less than your typical car. For instance the hood and front fenders are all comprised as one panel as there’ll be no need to change the oil and only your local EV technician would need to remove the hood. The body of the car is made from bio-composite material, grown and manufactured locally. Bio fibre composite materials offer a sustainable alternative to other composite fibres, while still retaining the inherent strength and corrosion resistance of composite materials. The use of composite materials and advanced design offers increases in safety, with one key aspect being that the body will return to its original shape after a severe impact.

The goal is to be as close as possible to a zero carbon footprint in the whole production process of the vehicle. The manufacturing process of the vehicle is far less energy intensive then the same process other composite material, this is because in the case of bio fibre the raw material is being created by nature. For glass fibre or carbon fibre composites there is energy and resources involved in creating the raw materials, the careful review of which makes either an unlikely candidate for a conversation involving sustainability. The use of bio fibre also results in a reduction of the overall weight versus fiberglass at about 10%, increasing the overall vehicle efficiency.

Another sustainable feature in the design contributing to this is the use of vinyl paint films. Using this materialover traditional paints eliminates the need for any painting process with the film being applied robotically in production. Traditional painting methods are an expensive and hazardous process, requiring extensive permits to ensure the safe use of the chemicals. Paint film does not require extensive permits as the sheets are pre developed and no chemicals are used in the application or handling processes. Utilising paint film with composite materials offers further benefits, as the paint film can be removed to assess impact damage to the composite materials, making it easier to determine the proper repair method. The end user will also have unlimited choices in colours, textures and graphics.

The vehicle is driven by an electric ac induction motor with a single-speed transmission. The vehicle will be powered by Lithium based batteries contained within a modular housing. This modular housing leaves the option to power the vehicle with improved battery chemistries as they come to market. The vehicle is also designed to accept other types of drivetrain technologies, such as natural gas, flywheel or inductive charging, fuel cells and others. Batch-scale manufacturing allows us to stay flexible with the architecture and introduce updates as the technology improves, which we see being a major factor in the automotive industry today. That is – we are on the brink of a paradigm shift in how we think about the design and manufacture of products. It goes without saying that the vehicles on the road ten years from now will be radically different from what we have today. We hope to be able to stay on the forefront of this wave with the philosophies we’ve embraced in this program.

We are extremely proud of this vehicle and the response it has received from the public and press. We would love to see this vehicle put into production and as Motive is not a vehicle manufacturer, we are interested in discussing the options for this program with interested manufacturers. Help us, by providing feedback on the design and conveying your interest in the program.