Great strides are being made in the field of electric vehicles and green energy. In Sweden, there is a project which may come to be revolutionary in the transport industry.
Swedish company Uniti has built an electric car. Unlike other electric cars, they have not tried to adapt existing car models to a more environmentally friendly technology. Rather, they seek to reinvent the concept of the car while keeping the electrical technology in mind.
Originally conceived in the Swedish University of Lund, Uniti took to the internet to seek the funding they required to build a working prototype and prepare the project for large-scale production. The project not only achieved its goal, but it did so within the first four hours of it being publicised.
Additionally, Uniti can boast of being made entirely of sustainable materials, with special attention given to its lighter weight in order to preserve energy. In fact, in the words of the CEO Lewis Horne:
“Our vehicles are made out of composite materials so we can manufacture it fully automated and very scalable with a much better environmental impact.”
Making an impact
It is the philosophy behind the development of Uniti that seems to set it apart from its peers in the electric car industry. Horne said in a 2016 interview,
“What’s really different is why and the way we’re doing it, for us economics and money is a tool in order to achieve a purpose or an impact, … the really long-term goal is to make an impact.”
Uniti’s impact and mission statement do not end with a purely environmental goal. Their software will be open-source, making it available to new companies and startups with similar goals. This is done purposely, to disrupt several malpractices in the automotive industry which caused the industry to be seen less as a retail and service minded one and more akin to a cartel.
“The way we do this is what is really disruptive. This is designed to be disruptive because we know how damaging the auto industry is and we know that the problem is not a technological problem. The technology needed exists and is common. What we need is the market to be grown. So, we have market-growing strategy.” Horne stated.
Electric cars more commercial
In the past decade, the idea of electric cars has made a comeback. Today they are at the forefront of innovative transport. With an alliance of big names in the automobile industry such as Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, great strides are being made in their commercialisation and viability. An example of this is the celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk with his Tesla cars, which have gained notoriety for their innovative and ambitious design.
Electric vs petrol
Electric cars cannot be discussed without the inevitable comparison to their petrol-fuelled counterparts. In what way do they differ from the combustion engine?
The electric car differs due to the system which powers it. Electric cars rely upon a purely electrical system coming from a battery. The battery is the source of energy for the whole car, which can be charged at any charging station connected to an electrical grid.
In addition to this, an electric car reduces the carbon dioxide emissions throughout its whole existence. Starting at the point of manufacture, to the car’s own lifespan, it effectively provides a greener and more environmentally friendly option.
Research and long-term analysis seem to suggest that electric cars are safer than their combustion engine counterparts. Electric vehicles also appear to be much cheaper to maintain and to run, making the initial high cost seem more like a long-term investment to some.
Hitting the roads
By 2019, the Uniti car will roll out the first few commercial models of its kind. Given the scalable nature of the car, the models of Uniti One will be available in 2, 4 and 5 seats. It will have a range of up to 300km in distance, coupled with an auxiliary battery with a range of up to 30km of its own. The battery can be charged in any common power outlet.
Uniti One’s innovative technology also allows for faster charging. Being able to offer several options to charge it with means that there is a choice between outlets, solar panels, or even induction charging. And for those who worry about speed and safety, the Uniti One reaches a top speed of 130km/h, with electronic steering designed for a more comfortable and intuitive driving experience.
With these specifications, Uniti One promises to not just take the road with a promising lead but also revolutionise the way we look at personal transportation.
Though there are some who consider the current limitations of electric powered vehicles to be one of their greatest pitfalls, strides are being made in order to provide the same amount of autonomy as their petrol-powered cousins.
An initiative partnered with the Swedish government has seen the construction of roads with electrical powered strips which enables these vehicles to be charged while in motion. This vastly reduces the need for petrol, or even the need for refuelling stations to be peppered along the highway.
These experimental roads have already been tested around Stockholm's Arlanda airport, with a fleet of trucks now operating entirely on electrical power. Proposals are being discussed after the successful experimentation by the Swedish government to extend the technology across some of the major highways in Sweden. These roads could highly reduce fossil fuel dependency as well as exhaust emissions from the combustion engine.
Extending the Green Mile
Considering the impact petrol based fuels have had on our society and planet, it is easy to be pessimistic about the state of the world and what the future holds for us. However, recent developments make the future a bit brighter and a little greener.
With motions from the UK to ban the sale and circulation of petrol cars, and with new policies enacted by Sweden, there could be a sudden increase of electric car sales. Changes such as these could take us towards an entirely green future and a complete reduction of our footprint upon the ecosystem.
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