A bit of bubble and squeak from Sweden

Riley Riley

Sweden’s Uniti One embraces the bubble-like design that seems to be the norm for battery-powered city EVs.

Offering a fresh take on urban mobility, the three-seater has been designed says Uniti in response to today’s changing transportation needs.

Designed in Sweden and engineered in the UK, Uniti One has been created from the ground-up as an urban electric vehicle, optimised for efficiency, sustainability and affordability — while maximising interior space for three adults.

All of which has been achieved says Uniti without sacrificing quality, comfort or real-world usability.

The crowd-funded Uniti was established in 2015 as an open innovation research project at Lund University in Sweden, with the aim of better understanding the societal and environmental impact of modern cars.

The project quickly expanded as the team realised it could start to simultaneously address the changing usage patterns of commuters and the growing need for more sustainable mobility solutions, through innovation and the application of emerging technologies, and by taking a completely fresh look at the role of the automobile.

Offered with a choice of two battery sizes, the Uniti One has a range of up to 300km, and can be charged from 20 to 80 per cent in just 17 minutes with a 50kW CCS charger.

A permanent magnet motor drives the rear wheels, producing an output of 50kW and 85Nm of torque with ample performance for real-world urban driving.

The standard 12 kWh battery provides 150km of range from a single charge, while the optional 24 kWh battery extends range to an impressive 300km.

A 100km top up can be added in just 10 minutes using a 50 kW CCS charger.

At 3222mm long, weighing just 600kg and with a turning circle of just seven metres., Uniti One accelerates from  0-50km/h in 4.1 seconds and 0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds, with a top speed of 120 km/h.

It features two selectable driving modes which adapt the car’s characteristics to suit the conditions or driver mood.

City mode optimises the car for energy efficiency, providing a smooth and relaxed drive, whereas selecting Boost mode sharpens the accelerator response and adds a little weight to the steering for a more dynamic feel.

Its unique-in-class and highly-flexible one-plus-two seating configuration offers unrivalled ergonomic and visibility benefits for the driver, with ample space for two adult passengers to sit behind, as well as generous load-carrying potential.

The central driving position gives rear passengers quick and easy access into and out of the cabin, whilst minimising driver disruption.

A split-folding rear seat is fitted as standard, further increasing flexibility and, with three occupants on-board, the vehicle provides 155 litres of rear cargo capacity.

Additional storage space either side of the drivers’ seat means that longer packages fit with ease.

With the rear bench folded flat, and in its maximum load-carrying configuration, the vehicle turns into a single-seater, providing the driver with a generous 760 litres of usable cargo space.

An electrochromic panoramic roof allows cabin brightness can be controlled as desired, ranging from transparent through to fully opaque, and all within a few seconds.

The roof automatically darkens to prevent the vehicle heating up when parked, which also helps reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the cabin again.

The electrochromic glass also acts as virtual sun visor, tinting the top of the windscreen to reduce brightness and glare for the driver.

A digital-first approach has been taken to the Uniti One’s controls, keeping the number of physical switches to a minimum and giving the cabin a calm and orderly ambience with a highly-intuitive, smartphone-like feel.

A signature horizon panel arcs around the driver, housing three configurable screens and integrating all information and command channels in a cohesive element.

The EV leverages the benefits of Android Automotive OS, an integrated system that brings access to Google Maps, Waze, Spotify and dozens of other Play Store apps and services without requiring a dedicated or connected smartphone.

Beyond infotainment, the interface also provides easy access to key vehicle functions, such as lighting, heating and ventilation, all controlled via a familiar touch screen or hands-free, voice activated interface.

Uniti One does away with the need for a traditional key or fob, with entry to the car enabled via a secure mobile app which incorporates a smart, back-up function – a feature with the potential to unlock additional functionality in the future.

A wide-angle rear view camera replaces a traditional mirror, providing the driver with outstanding rear visibility via a central digital display, even with two passengers or full load on board.

Designed to cope with everyday city life, the lower exterior body panels can be easily removed for repair or even replacement.

And, by adopting self-coloured materials for the exterior, rather than using paint, the surface is better equipped to withstand minor bumps and scratches.

Offered initially to buyers in northern Europe and with first deliveries planned in Sweden and the UK for mid-2020, Uniti One is now available to configure at www.uniti.earth.

With orders expected to open shortly, customers that place a deposit before the end of November 2019 will secure a place in Uniti’s exclusive ‘Founders Club’, entitling them to a host of exclusive benefits, including free software upgrades and enhancements for life.

Prices start from just £15,100 after £3,500 UK Government subsidy — about $28,000 Aussie dollars.

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