As cities around the world try to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in their city centers, startups and established car companies alike are trying to find ways to make cars smaller and greener.
A successful crowdfunding campaign that closed Sunday puts a Swedish startup one step closer to getting its compact electric cars on the road. Uniti Sweden raised $1.3 million on the Swedish crowdfunding site FundedByMe, with 570 people buying a stake in the fledgling auto company.
The car they plan to produce is a tiny two-seater with a range of just over 93 miles that will cost $21,700. The company says it wants to “build the car of the future,” and the features proposed certainly fit that description. The steering wheel will have swipe-based controls, as well as “bat-shit crazy gaming and entertainment options,” words not often used by car companies to describe any part of their vehicles.
The company will spend the next year working on a prototype, and it plans to start delivering vehicles in late 2019 or early 2020. Until then, prospective buyers can strap into Uniti’s Kepler Pod, a virtual test drive simulated with a VR headset and a custom seat.
While it may be a few years before Uniti Sweden’s city car is maneuvering city streets, tinkerers can use the company’s open-source, Arduino-compatible microcontroller board to develop their own electric vehicle. The board, called the ARC, costs about $55 and is designed for controlling three-phase motors, whether those motors are powering electric cars or 3D printers.
Uniti Sweden has also started a YouTube series, called “Uniti Update,” that chronicles the company’s progress. “We want to show you the whole process, from now to mass production, which is our end goal,” says Albin Wilson, who handles corporate relations, in the first episode.