Squad Mobility Unveils World’s ‘First’ Urban Solar Car, Eyes Australia
Dutch electric vehicle developer Squad Mobility has unveiled the working prototype of its Squad Solar City Car, an electric quadricycle powered by its own solar panels designed for the urban mobility sector as a small smart city car.
And, Squad Mobility intends to come to Australia, although interest will determine when, according to Squad Mobility CEO Robert Hoevers.
In an emailed note to The Driven, Hoevers said: “Yes, we are also planning to bring the Squad solar car to Australia, although we are starting deployment in Europe.”
“Regarding the timing, among other aspects, it also depends on local interest.”
Hoevers notes that pre-orders are open for people outside of Europe, including Australia, for the equivalent of just 5 euros. “The number of pre-orders outside the EU will also help us determine where to go next,” he says.
Named Squad for being a solar-powered quadricycle, the Squad Solar City Car is currently expected to be available in 2022 and is designed as a streamlined option for city dwellers, fleet owners and cities around the world. whole.
The two-seater quadricycle charges automatically in the sun but also has interchangeable batteries. Its small size is aimed at city dwellers or the downtown fleet who can use the reduced footprint to quickly navigate the city and park in more spaces.
Replaceable batteries provide up to 100 kilometers of all-electric range, and the Squad’s rooftop solar panel provides an additional 20 kilometers of extra electric charge per day.
Squad Mobility is quick to point out that the average use of a micro-car is around 12 kilometers per day, which means that the solar roof can, on average, provide all the necessary charge. But, when extra runtime is needed, the replaceable portable batteries can be charged directly from a normal power outlet.
Squad Mobility will also look to replicate the success of Chinese electric car maker Nio’s Battery as a Service plans, which make it easy to swap batteries as part of a subscription plan, with hundreds of charging stations. batteries currently located across China. The same battery swap option is available for Taiwanese electric scooters and Smartscooters from battery swap developer Gogoro.
Fleet operators would be able to operate their own smart battery charging and swap station for spare batteries, while Squad would likely look to start rolling out its own publicly accessible swap stations, if the Solar City Car takes off.
“Keeping a charged floating fleet is one of the main operational costs of a shared electric vehicle fleet operator,” said Robert Hoevers, CEO of Squad Mobility. “Automatic, wireless and free solar charging is of course a great solution. “
“In addition, cities love solar charging because it is a sustainable source of energy. It decreases the load on the local charging infrastructure and the demand for energy.
“Cities are looking for zero-emission mobility solutions with a small footprint. We have achieved both. Per capita energy consumption lower than public transport and a spatial footprint comparable to that of a bicycle. And all this while offering the flexibility of personal transportation and the comfort of a car.
While the Squad looks a lot like a golf cart, rather than something you’d be comfortable driving in the busy city, the company nonetheless promises that its tubular aluminum frame and roll bar “keep things going. safe journeys ”, while the tires act as bodywork bumpers.
The Squad is also equipped with sensors that allow remote diagnosis of situations such as operating status, load levels, tire pressure and location.
Solar City Car fleet operators will also be able to benefit from cameras installed on the car which the company says will be able to check the condition of vehicles and their position in public space, as well as customer use and cause. accidents.
Surprisingly, Squad Mobility also explains that such cameras will offer the possibility of remote control of the vehicle by the operator, for example when the vehicle is improperly parked or is blocking an exit.
“The remote control means we take into account additional capabilities in the design, such as the application of remote steering actuation and the ability to relay data from the CAN bus to the operator and vice versa in a secure manner.” , said Chris Klok, Squad Head of Design Mobility.
“In the longer term, we envision the use of autonomous technology to control the city fleet, for example to bring vehicles back to high demand or sunnier locations for recharging. “
Squad Mobility claims that the Squad Solar City Car is currently available for pre-order with a retail price starting at € 5,750, excluding tax, which converts to around $ 9,000A. The company also suggests on its website. that the car would also be available through a lease or monthly subscription.
It is not yet known whether the Solar City Car Squad will arrive in Australia, but we have reached out to Squad Mobility for clarification.