Electric cars have been around for more than 100 years. But since they didn’t receive much of the attention their internal combustion counterparts did, the electric car has had to play a fast game of catch-up.
Minds from the best automotive and engineering companies in Germany have therefore partnered with the Technische Universistaet Muenchen (TUM), or Munich Technical University in English, to develop technologies for a safe, practical electric car that can be viable in rural areas.
Called the Project Visio.M, it has a 15-kilowatt batter pack—nine kilowatts less than the Nissan Leaf—but also weighs around 900 pounds without its battery pack. That’s less than a third the weight of a Leaf. Yet, engineers are building it with lightweight materials to be able to withstand European crash test standards.
The 10.8 million-euro project ($14.2 million) funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research is looking to make materials cheaper, lighter, and better-designed for electric car use. However, that sort of money is relatively insubstantial for designing a car from the ground up, meaning the Munich Technical University has also drafted BMW as its lead manager (who are developing the electric BMW i cars), Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, Continental Automotive, Siemens, Texas Instruments, and many other firms to help make this project more than just a pipedream.
We’ll keep you updated where it goes, as findings from the Project Visio.M will likely lead to an electric car with a longer range and lower price to put them on par with their gas-powered contemporaries.