Meet the newcomers taking charge of the EV forecourt
TraXall International explores some of the smaller, emerging automotive brands charging ahead in the world of electric transport.
The car industry has always been a highly competitive, disruptive and innovative market with big brands vying to be the first and best at everything. Shape and size matters. New models emerge. Old ones are revamped and reinvented. Colour trends come and go. In-car infotainment and luxury extras evolve faster than an F1 cockpit team.
Looking ahead, carbon neutral transport that doesn’t compromise on style or substance is the omnipresent EV priority. Rivalry between the big players is rife.
But smaller, less-known suppliers are slowly, but spectacularly emerging from under the radar, ready to take on the likes of Tesla. The underdogs versus the frontrunners – the EV race is on to provide niche solutions for mainstream problems.
The Swedish have made quite a name for themselves. Their famous furniture store has revolutionised home storage solutions and provided us with an endless supply of tea lights, all while dishing up delicious meatballs. And they have produced a steady stream of earworm hits since ABBA took the Eurovision crown in 1974. In fashion and home style, Scandi style is de rigueur.
In the car world, famous for the safety-first Volvo, Sweden is now taking on the EV big boys with their small solution to big problems – congestion and pollution.
Meet the Luvly O
This minimalist city car is designed to free up our clogged city streets and to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a small car with a big story designed for shorter journeys. It’s a cool car that will be hot news in the growing LEV market thanks to being made from largely recycled materials – and the best bit – it’s a flatpack. But before all you IKEA enthusiasts who love to build a triple wardrobe with matching bedside tables in under an hour get too excited, you don’t actually buy then DIY the Luvly O with an instruction booklet.
But this flatpack car could be set to revolutionise the LEV market in the same way IKEA revolutionised the way we buy and build furniture. It could transform our approach to car production beyond recognition.
Luvly O removes the need for heavy parts and welding and the need to transport fully assembled cars, taking hefty transport costs and emissions out of the production process. Plus, factories can be up and running within three to six months unlike the state-of-the-art production lines for big-brand, big cars with big extras and big price tags.
This dinky car challenges the belief that big is beautiful and, after 8 years of research and development, it will be available across Europe by the end of this year. It can travel up to 100km with a top speed of around 90km/hr, has a decent size boot and manufacturers are already on the case of looking at introducing child seats into the design to attract the family cohort.
Luvly O isn’t trying to be a high-performance, flashy family Tesla or a solo, nippy e-Scooter. It’s just a minimalist, practical and environmentally-friendly solution when walking, catching a bus, train or e-bike isn’t an option.
It oozes Scandi cool and it doesn’t cost the earth, €10,000 to be precise. How luvly.
The future of EVs is in the past
Now let’s move on from the Luvly city slicker to see what’s new in the EV world of deliveries.
UK-based Morris Commercial has launched the JE pure-electric van. Staying close to its routes of the iconic Morris Minor and the classic Morris J-Type van of the 50s and 60s, the JE has taken the bold move to step back in time.
Unlike other EV players who are committed to reinventing the wheel when it comes to EV design, the JE shuns the future with a van that recaptures, and epitomises, retro British culture.
The JE perfectly blends Morris’s quintessential design, quality British craftmanship and cutting-edge EV technology. With zero tailpipe emissions and most components being recycled and recyclable, carbon neutral deliveries have never been cooler.
This nostalgic, future-proof van will set you back around £60,000 (€70,000). It is ULEZ and CAZ exempt making it perfect for urban deliveries where other diesel vans cannot go and has an impressive range of around 200 miles.
Plus, you’re bound to turn heads in this Insta, ad and movie-worthy style icon that delivers on environmental and curb appeal.
So, if your product or brand needs a cool delivery, it needs a JE.
Pull over big brands – big deliveries need Volta
Newcomer, Volta Trucks was only established in 2019 but has already built the world’s first purpose-built, fully electric, 16-tonne commercial vehicle which has been developed in the UK.
The Volta has been specifically designed for inner-city deliveries and aims to help reduce the environmental impact of fuel guzzling freight in urban areas. It is the first European commercial vehicle operator to use an e-axle for enhanced efficiency and range delivering 95-125 miles and a top speed of 56mph.
And just to prove that small doesn’t mean slow, Volta went from the drawing board to road in just 10 months. The firm already has a healthy order under its bonnet, and UK road trials are currently underway.
Beat that BMW.
Will Chinese take away the EV crown?
Chinese vehicles may have been the butt of many a car joke in the past, but as more and more Chinese makes and models are making their way onto international roads, they may well have the last laugh.
They are making in-roads in the small, compact and affordable through to the tech-full and lux end of the EV market.
Moving away from big SUVs and pick-ups, ORA’s Funky Cat is set to take on the small but much coveted and affordable Mini Electric.
The XPeng P5 EV can be transformed from a family car into a luxury campervan complete with cinema screen and built-in fridge. The icing on the cake – it’s £8,500 (around €9,500) cheaper than the entry level Tesla Model 3. Elon will no doubt plan to overtake the P5 with a Tesla 5 with built in bar and bath.
New Chinese start-up VM Motor has set its sights high – at the high end of the market. Their M7 e-limousine comes with 32 sensors meaning that autonomous EV driving could soon be a reality.
With looks, features and prices to tempt both private vehicles and commercial fleets, you may well be turning to the Orient for your next EV.