A new brand of electric car -- mia electric -- will arrive in the United Kingdom next month, showcasing three versions of the innovative Microbus at the EcoVelocity car show from September 8 to 11, 2011. After receiving a lot of attention at Geneva Motor Show last year, the three vehicles will be displayed for the first time since then in the UK.
It is also the first time for the general public to sit behind the wheel and drive the mia’s zero-emission urban mobility for themselves. The vehicles will be available for sale in the UK by the first quarter of next year. They were designed by Murat Günak, the former design boss at Volkswagen.
They are available in three configurations: the standard short wheelbase model and the two extended models mia box van and mia L. Due to the lightweight design concept, the standard vehicle model weighs only 750kg, allowing extremely economical power consumption and low running costs of around £1.30 per 100 kms.
On the other hand, extended models weigh only 759kg. The three vehicle models are run by an 18kW electric motor at the rear end of the unit that provides a top speed of 68 mph (110km/h). A range of 120 to 130km is available from the 12 kWh battery pack that is offered as standard. The lithium iron phosphate batteries can be fully charged in five hours.
This technically sound battery system is incredibly safe and helps lessen range anxiety by allowing “no memory effect” charging, which means that the battery is chargeable for short top-up periods with no adverse effect to battery life. For example, a ten-minute charge will provide an extra range of 6 kilometers.
The mia, with the standard short-wheel base, has three seats while the extended mia L has four. Instead of three back seats just like the mia L, the mia box van highlights a cargo capacity of 1,500 liters. The most striking feature of all three mia versions is the central driving position, which allows the driver to get in and out of the vehicle on both sides.
This seat arrangement gives the driver a perfect view of the city traffic. On the other hand, the passengers have plenty of legroom in the backseat. It also gives the cabin an office style and a one-of-a-kind layout featuring a display with space to mount an iPod and tablet computer.
David Wilkie, the former design director at Italian styling house Bertone and now design partner at mia, said “Working on the mia project was like reinventing the car itself. It hasn’t been designed to look swoopy and fast, it’s designed to be practical and likeable.
A lot of cars are derivatives of mainstream cars but this is all new and perfect for big cities. It will undoubtedly become harder, and maybe even illegal, to drive petrol cars in downtown urban areas, so electric city cars like the mia have enormous potential.”