Uniti – Small EV heading to UK soonish.
New company – Uniti Sweden AB – is developing an all-new electric three-seater Uniti One. Production was expected to begin in 2020 in a “pilot production plant” at Silverstone Park. Covid has reduced the production plans to a crawl.
The site is expected to serve as a template for franchise production model, with many production sites in various countries. Uniti spreads a vision of 50,000 units produced annually in the future.
The British-engineered compact EV was supposed arrive in Sweden and the UK first in mid-2020, with a choice of battery capacities and prices starting from £15,100 including government grant.
The entry-grade, 12kWh Uniti One will be capable of 93 miles between charges, while the optional 24kWh battery pack iextends that range to 186 miles. The larger battery can be charged from 20% to 80% in seventeen minutes on a 50kW CCS charger, while the 12kWh model takes just nine.
A 67bhp electric motor drives the rear wheels only, reaching 31mph in a claimed 4.1 seconds and 62mph in 9.9. Top speed is 75mph, with separate City and Boost drive modes to alternate between efficiency and sharpened response.
The three-seat EV, which weighs as little as 600kg, has a central driving position and room for two rear passengers. The steering wheel is flanked by two touchscreens, which are powered by Google’s Android Automotive software, and control the majority of the car’s functions. Drive, Neutral and Reverse gears are selected with individual buttons mounted on the dashboard. There is no key: the car is locked and started using a secure smartphone app.
An electrochromic sunroof, which can be adjusted from transparent to fully opaque, comes as standard, and automatically darkens when parked to keep the cabin cool. Other equipment includes rear LED lighting and LED daytime running lights, with full LED headlights an option.
The One has 155 litres of luggage space, which can be extended to 760 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.
The car can be ordered in a choice of Scandium, Graphite and Titanium colours.
Uniti aims to supply each market from within that market, using automated production centres and digital twinning technology supplied by Siemens. This would allow assembly line schematics to be shared anywhere in the world, to set up plants with enough capacity to fulfil the production demand of a particular market. The entire production line would be automated, with staff mainly focused on quality control at the end of the process. The proposed system would provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional manufacturing process, which relies heavily on transportation networks to distribute cars from a single central production facility.
While originally conceived as a quadricycle, the One is now classed as an M1 passenger car, and must pass safety tests. The company is working with Millbrook proving ground on virtual crash testing, in an effort to further reduce environmental impact. Currently there are several tests that can’t be simulated, and legislation would need to be changed before they could replace traditional crash tests.
Following the UK’s example, future proposed sites include Mexico, Australia, the US, India, Dubai and Georgia. Each will be operated on a franchise model.
The autonomous-capable car has been made with lightness as a priority. Horne explained that the One’s design is centred on maximising battery performance.
The company began taking €149 deposits last year, with 3000 orders placed ahead of the car’s official debut. One of those 3,000 deposits is from us.
The first customers will be offered the chance to take part in a beta testing scheme, in which they run the car and provide feedback to finalise its development.
The One is focused on the second family car market and is designed for the daily commute. Its small dimensions make it suited to city driving, while having more interior space than today’s city cars. The second Uniti model, already in the early planning stages, is proposed as a 2+2 car, with a high number of parts interchangeable with the One.
Uniti’s home market of Sweden and surrounding Nordic countries have been among the world’s quickest to adopt electric cars. Norway was the first to pledge a ban on petrol and diesel cars with the intention of having only electric vehicles on sale from 2025.
Uniti One target specifications:
- 149 miles of range
- top speed: 81 mph
- Rear wheel drive, Dual motors output of 120 kW
- 26 kWh battery pack, DC fast charging
- 25 min from 20-80% on standard charge
- 450 kg of curb weight, 900 kg gross weight
The car reminds us a little of the Commuter Cars – Tango EV from our past. See the Tango below with Mt Clooney: