Mobius Motors Kenya Ltd. is trying to accomplish what other carmakers has failed so far – building a car for Africa. If people have been gone to Mobius’ showroom in Nairobi, Kenya, they could have seen a vehicle that is somewhat a cross between a pickup and a car and has no flashy dials, electric windows alloy wheels.
The Mobius vehicle, which has no windows except for the front windshield, has been stripped to make it sturdy and affordable as possible. Mobius sales manager Aman Ghai told Reuters that the carmaker is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but is just trying to make a vehicle “that is a bit tougher."
Dubbed as the Mobius II, this no-frills vehicle is powered by a four-cylinder, 1,598-cc petrol engine that can deliver up to 86 hp of max output at 5,500 rpm as well as 128 Nm of peak torque at 3,000 rpm. Power is sent to the wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. The Mobius II boasts of a top speed of 120 km/h.
Africa has been known as a supplier of raw materials for building vehicles, but has so far has no large manufacturing base and is perceived to be not able to create a quality product on its own. That is where Mobius Motors is coming in – to design, build and sell a quality vehicle for Africa.
The Kenyan carmaker also had to deal with government bureaucracy, as many companies try to bribe authorities to make things easier. Mobius is confident that neither hurdle could impair its surge, and is confident that it would gain government approvals to deliver the first vehicles on Dec. 11, 2014.
Mobius is currently building the first batch of 50 cars, which will be sold at KES950,000 (EUR8,552) each before tax. This makes the Mobius II as the most affordable new vehicle in Kenya. By having its base in Kenya, the company’s engineering team can focus on the needs of rural Africans.
For instance, the vehicle has back seats that run along the sides and can be folded away to for more room for goods. It also has heavy duty suspension copes that allow it to deal with bumpy tracks. As designed, the three -door Mobius II can accommodate up to eight passengers, two in the front and six in the rear. It has a loading capacity of 625 kg.
With minimal electronics, an owner has less components to worry about breaking down. The company has the capacity to build two vehicles daily at its existing site and is planning to build other versions like a four-wheel drive.