Would you Drive This Cheap, Low-Range Electric Car?
It only has a range of 62 miles, but that should be enough for wall-to-wall city drivingby Kirby Garlitos, on
French auto parts company Valeo is looking to enter the electric car market with a low-voltage city concept. The unnamed two-seater was developed in partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University and, according to Valeo, it could cost just under $9,000. The concept vehicle is in attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The concept is loosely based on a Zhidou city car, which itself looks a lot like the Toyota iQ. It’s not going to blow you over with its design, but the promise of a low-mileage electric car at the cost that’s being thrown around is tantalizing. Powering the car is a low-voltage 48V motor, a much smaller outfit compared to the high-voltage motors currently being used in EVs today. Not only is the 48V motor 20 percent more economical than its 400V counterpart, it also doesn’t require all the safety systems needed in a bigger and more traditional EV. That makes it cheaper to produce, which ties into Valeo’s reported asking price.
For that $9,000 price, the small EV concept offers a range of 62 miles with a top speed of 62 mph. No one’s going to mistake it for a speed demon, but that’s not the Valeo’s objective. According to CEO Jacques Aschenbroich, the electric concept car is meant to be a low-speed city car. “There is already a big market for low-speed vehicles in China, where more than a million such cars are on the road, and these cars are growing in popularity in Europe,” he said. “This is a market that could explode around the world.”
Should the electric concept generate significant interest, Valeo plans to actually sell the product to an established automaker who will produce it in mass quantities. Apparently, the French parts company has no intention to become a full-fledged car maker because, in Aschenbroich’s words, “I don’t think we’d be able to do it, and we don’t want to do it.”