New EV could recharge Aussie manufacturing
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A quirky electric car conceived in Sweden and engineered in the UK could one day be manufactured in Australia.
Marketed as being “built for the world” the Uniti One will initially be sold in northern Europe, but its makers are considering a manufacturing facility in Australia, with Adelaide previously mooted as a possible location.
Respected UK motoring publication Autocar reported that Australia was among a handful of countries where the car could be manufactured under a franchise model.
“The automotive world has always used franchise models in the form of dealerships,” Uniti vehicle development director Sally Provoltsky told Autocar.
“Uniti is an unbranded box, and we know all markets are different, so we can adapt to them instead of forcing everyone to conform.”
Pricing for the three-seat Uniti One was announced overnight, with prices in the UK set at £18,600 (NZ$37,185) before taxes.
However, compare its pricing with that of other popular small cars in the UK — such as the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla — and if the Uniti follows a similar theme it should theoretically sell for less than NZ$30,000.
The Uniti One will not be sold at traditional dealerships, instead working with an online ordering model and mobile service centres.
Rather than blending into the hatchback carpark the Uniti One boasts bulbous futuristic styling and an innovative three-seat layout that places the driver’s seat in the centre of the car, like the legendary McLaren F1.
There are two adult-friendly seats behind the driver, each of which can be folded to create a cavernous 760-litre luggage space.
The Uniti is powered by a 50kW electric motor driving the rear wheels and is claimed to get 150km from a charge. A large battery can double that range — and significantly ramp up the price.
Key to its efficiency is a body that weighs just 600kg — about half that of a city hatchback.
That helps it accelerate to 100km/h in 9.9 seconds, which should ensure it keeps pace with city traffic.
That’s where Uniti’s makers see it settling in: crowded city streets and lower-speed suburban centres, initially taking advantage of increasing demand for electric vehicles in countries such as Sweden and Norway.
At just seven metres, its turning circle is almost half that of some large SUVs, making it perfectly suited to tight streets.
Body panels are designed to be easily removed to repair dings or scrapes.
There’s no central rear vision mirror, a camera instead providing a large image on one of three screens surrounding the driver.
Over-the-air updates will provide regular software updates and the car is powered by the new Android Automotive operating system that incorporates apps such as Waze and Spotify.
There’s also an electrochromic panoramic sunroof to allow more natural light inside. – news.com.au