Stephen Harper, the man behind the design of the MGF, Ford Escort Cosworth and MG GT, has overseen the development of a new battery-powered city car designed for emerging markets. It’s a sharp-looking car with promised developments including induction charging, and the possibility of being made in various locations globally.
The Design Consultancy SHADO began work on the project in 2013, with the brief to reinvestigate how we will really need transport in the future. One key element of this study was to identify the differing aspects of our use for vehicles. From this a project began called the BAYcycle, a simple low-energy usage personal EV, which used energy ‘as required’ to keep the weight of the vehicle low, and as few batteries as possible.
Following that, Steve created SHADO International Group, based in Singapore, to work on a new project, taking the purity and simplicity of the BAYcycle and creating a four-seat EV. The result was the SHADO Inspiration EV, which has been designed to combine the simplicity and practicality of the Citroen 2CV, Mini and Fiat Panda, with a low-cost efficient power system. A modular frame system was developed, which means the platform can be spun-out into new fleet and commercial vehicle derivatives.
The design features many new ideas, which are all production ready. The interesting looking car is 3.7m long, 1.84m wide, 1.55m high, is designed to have a top speed of around 45mph, and is simple to drive, with room for four. The range of claimed to be 60 miles, with the basic lead-acid battery pack, but this can be increased by specifying a number of battery and accessory options.
The Inspiration EV includes wireless charging, alongside interchangeable batteries, range extender packs, conventional charging systems and solar panels to power the air conditioning, which is essential in the car’s primary markets. The whole body frame and chassis has been designed from the start as a CKD Modular Assembly System, where all the components required for the vehicle, arrive directly from the suppliers, to the localised assembly plants.
SHADO has already commissioned pilot assembly plants in Vietnam and Laos, with a UK plant in the South West planned. The first running prototype has been completed, and now further Investors and Partners are being sought, to bring the Inspiration EV to production.
Steve told AROnline: ‘I have been trying to imagine how Herbert Austin or William Morris with the £100 Minor, would look at transport today. They were clearly motivated to provide simple cheap and effective mobility for the masses. This is especially the case in the emerging markets, eager for personal transport.
‘As we move forward we find that most people run their car with a full fuel tank, just in case they have to drive to the other side of the island. But in reality their Nurburgring tested, two golf bag carrying, techno-car, rarely goes beyond Sainsburys.
‘What we have created is a non-“energy hogging” vehicle, which uses alternative systems to provide you with 80-90% of your daily need, and options to enable you to go further if required. EVs may struggle to do a 300-mile round trip, without paying big bucks for expensive Li-ion batteries.
‘But we are not trying to compete with those long-distance vehicles which have to permanently carry that payload. As Lords Austin and Nuffield realised, there are many out there who just want to be a little more comfortable than on a bicycle or bike-combo, and a simple car is just what they need to pop to the shops.’
More information on the SHADO website