Electric cars have been around for decades, but it hasn’t been until recently that they’ve finally started to be considered a reliable solution to the problem of future transportation.
The Danish company ECOmove decided to join the crowded club of EV manufacturers and developed an innovative concept car designed for city driving.
The new Qbeak is a compact hatchback powered by a pack of lithium ion batteries and in-wheel motors. Its skin is made of lightweight, recyclable materials and features a unique chassis platform with room for flexible battery modules. Moreover the vehicle is also equipped with a communication system based on a smartphone.
What’s even interesting is that customers can choose from a range of interior and exterior options, which will permit you to modify the seats configuration (between 1 and 6) and also change the exterior color by interchanging some of the panels and parts.
The new ECOmove Qbeak is expected to be launched on the market by the end of 2012, but the company didn’t release any price specifications.
If you do a quick search on today’s electric cars, you’ll notice that the majority of them feature a pretty odd and chunky design. We don’t know why most of the EV developers seem to love to combine the exterior style of their creations with Quasimodo’s DNA, but for that matter we’ll have to be thankful to Fisker and Tesla for their different and elegant design approach.
Unfortunately, the Qbeak’s style is far behind the Fisker Karma’s tasty lines and it’s pretty safe to say that it is among the ugliest EVs seen lately.
The bad news starts up front where the sloped hood is combined with a pretty upright windscreen, an uninspired combination that makes the car look anything but cute. Though, we did found something to like as we consider that the vertical headlights actually look cool. Apart from that, you won’t find anything else worthy of a beauty award.
We’re still scratching our heads over ECOmove’s decision to add black plastic molding to the bottom of the doors and we’re also totally intrigued by the odd shape of the bumpers.
At least, the side body panels feature a pretty dynamic design which can be even called beautiful. But just when we thought that the Qubeak may not look that bad after all, we spotted the flat roof and the ugly fender flares which spoiled all our fun.
However, the back of the car looks better and your eyes won’t be harmed by any chunky lines.
The exterior design may be on the ugly side of things, but at least each body panel is made of non-corrosive materials that can absorb minor collisions, while also being recyclable and easily replaced.
With a length of just 3 meters, the QBEAK is fitted with 1-6 removable seats. The removable seats permit you to transform the interior layout according to your needs, so you can juggle with their position to obtain a bigger trunk. Thereby if you remove three of the six seats, the vehicle’s trunk will offer enough space to fit a Euro pallet.
Once you open the sliding doors, you notice that the driver’s seat is mounted right in the center and is faced by a funnel shaped steering wheel and a pretty basic dashboard. The driver’s seat is located in the middle to allow you to choose which side to get in or out.
The all around visibility won’t be an issue as you are surrounded by a generous glass area that also makes the cabin feel pretty airy.
Engines and Performance
As we’ve mentioned in the intro, the Qbeak is a fully electric vehicle. It is put in motion by a pair of in-built 35.4 kW zero emission motors which develop a total of 70.8 kW.
Thanks to the intensive use of lightweight materials the motor needs to deal with a curb weight of only 425 kg (936 lbs). As a result, the Qbeak can reach a top speed of 75 mph and has an impressive range of 186 miles. The car has a modular battery pack system allowing the driver to choose up to six battery modules.
The company has also talked about the possibility of fitting the Qbek with a Modular Energy Carrier (MECc) which uses bio-methanol to bolster the battery life. Bio-methanol was chosen because it produces substantially less carbon dioxide than diesel and gasoline engines. Mogens Lokke, CEO of ECOmove, declared “In combination with the way we built the car, which is really lightweight (425 kilograms), we can get the 500-mile range.”
In the end, we kind of like the Qbeak concept. Under its dubious skin, the vehicle hides a spacious interior which offers a high level of versatility and practicality. Though the cabin is a bit rudimentary for our tastes, but we hope that the production version will be more comfortable.
That being said, we don’t find anything to complain about when it comes to the electric drive train as its performances are at par with what you’d usually find in the class. Another major advantage offered by the Qbeak is its generous range that can’t be found at many EVs. Not to mention the possible introduction of the Modular Energy Carrier which will boost the EV’s range to a number that will be hard to match by any of today’s city cars.