Uniti One

Uniti’s £13,000 One elec­tric city car, due in late 2020, will be built at an ad­vanced digi­tised fa­cil­ity in Sil­ver­stone

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - TOM MOR­GAN

Swedish two-seat EV to be built in the UK

Fledg­ling Swedish elec­tric car com­pany Uniti will man­u­fac­ture its One city car in the UK. The Re­nault Twizy ri­val is set to be pro­duced at a “pi­lot plant” that will be com­pleted by 2020 in Sil­ver­stone Park, along­side the fa­mous grand prix cir­cuit.

The com­pany is call­ing the au­to­mated fa­cil­ity “the UK’S first fully digi­tised elec­tric ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion site” and it will serve as a tem­plate to in­flu­ence fu­ture global pro­duc­tion as the com­pany ramps up to its tar­get of 50,000 units per year.

The Uniti One will go on sale in late 2020, priced from just un­der £13,000. Ini­tially a two-seater, the car’s struc­ture is scal­able, with four- and five-seat vari­ants also planned for pro­duc­tion. It’s made from re­cy­clable car­bon­fi­bre and or­ganic com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als and the firm claims it pro­duces 75% less CO2 over its life­cy­cle than a con­ven­tional city car.

Weigh­ing just 450kg, it was orig­i­nally de­signed as a quadri­cy­cle, but it is now classed as an M1 pas­sen­ger car and must pass the usual crash safety tests. It’s pow­ered by two elec­tric mo­tors, pro­duc­ing 40bhp, and a 22kwh bat­tery, of­fer­ing a range of up to 186 miles. A 0-50mph time of less than four sec­onds is tar­geted, as is an 80mph top speed.

A full-width head-up dis­play fea­tures in­side and the con­trols are op­er­ated through an elec­tronic in­ter­face rather than with con­ven­tional switchgear.

Uniti CEO Lewis Horne said the UK’S ap­proach to ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion “with its fo­cus on light-weight­ing and in­no­va­tion in ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als, is an ideal model for elec­tric car pro­duc­tion glob­ally”.

Horne added: “It’s no se­cret that some of the world’s best ve­hi­cle en­gi­neers are clus­tered around Sil­ver­stone. When cou­pled with a govern­ment re­cep­tive to our am­bi­tion and goals, we couldn’t find a bet­ter home to es­tab­lish our pi­lot pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity.”

The pi­lot plant will cre­ate around 150 jobs ini­tially, not in­clud­ing the numer­ous part­ners sup­port­ing the pro­duc­tion eco sys­tem. Many of the roles will be fo­cused on qual­ity con­trol at the end of the au­to­mated line.

Uniti will also es­tab­lish a Lon­don of­fice to help raise cap­i­tal, with the aim of be­com­ing a “ma­jor player” in the Bri­tish EV mar­ket.

Fu­ture pro­posed sites in­clude Mex­ico, Aus­tralia, the US, In­dia and Dubai, each op­er­ated on a fran­chise model.

De­posits of €149 (£132) are be­ing taken and 3000 or­ders have al­ready been placed. Uniti is also work­ing with en­ergy sup­pli­ers such as E.ON, which is of­fer­ing its cus­tomers five years’ worth of free en­ergy to charge a Uniti at home.

Two-seater has a 186-mile range

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