Large manufacturers grab all the headlines at motor shows. They have the largest stands, the brightest cars, the best looking models… Smaller companies can’t compete. In France, the conseil général, an elected public body for the département, an administrative division the size of an American county, can help. The conseil général des Yvelines (South-West of Paris) has booked a large booth at the Geneva motor show next month. It will use it to show off locally made prototypes of electric vehicles. The best might be the Astute Car (top picture) from Akka Technologies, a high-technology and engineering consultancy.
A very short vehicle, it’s only 3-meter long. But it’s a real automobile, able to drive up to 140-kph (87-mph) and quite surprisingly with a range of 300-km (186-miles). Full of electronics, it has all the existing drive-by-wire technologies. There aren’t any mechanical link between the steering wheel or the pedals and what they command. Actually, there aren’t any pedal at all on the Astute Car. All commands are hand-operated.
Somewhat less ambitious, the Modulgo (above) from the Induct company isn’t a car. It will be registered in France as a low-speed vehicle, even if it can reach a top speed of 110-kph (68-mph). It’s a 3-seater, with 120-kg (265-lbs) of lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries giving it a 90-km range (55-miles). 99-inches long and 71-inches wide, its dashboard is a smartphone.
The idea is that the Modulgo wouldn’t be sold as a car, but as a transportation device coming with a smartphone. You would buy a smartphone, that you will own and keep in your pocket, with an app that will use when you will need a vehicle. Your phone would tell you where there is a Modulgo nearby, and your monthly bill will add both your phone calls and your trips.
More about the Astute Car and the Modulgo after the Geneva show…