An EV conversion company with a solid track history has debuted a prototype drivetrain and exterior design for a new 2+2 EV concept.
The Kar is the brainchild of the engineers at KleenSpeed, the same folks who brought us the record-setting WX10 racer. They’ve also performed countless conversions, our favorite being the Mazda Miata they turned into a battery powered “Eiata.” They know emissions, but they’re also fans of how much torque an EV can put out off the line. Now, they’re planning to build a universal vehicle platform and a car — er, Kar — to go with it.
According to KleenSpeed spokesperson Dean Seven, Kar is being readied for a 2015 public debut, and will be built on an interchangeable platform that offers a 40kWh lithium polymer liquid-cooled battery pack, 120-150 mile range and a top speed governed at 85 mph.
Right now, KleenSpeed is in talks with several Asian manufacturers to build the Kar, which features an exterior penned by lead designer Brian Rhim. The next phase of the design process includes digitizing it for tooling and engineering studies. Seven said that KleenSpeed will take advantage of other automakers’ surplus manufacturing capacity rather than build their own factories.
Judging by the struggles that other EV-only startups have faced (see Aptera for the most recent example), the Kar has a long road ahead. Plus, there are those same difficulties of developing an automobile from scratch that have plagued would-be automakers from Preston Tucker to John DeLorean.
But KleenSpeed has an ace in the hole: their VX-1 platform, a prototype chassis and battery setup that can be applied to many vehicle types. The VX-1 will be ready mid-2012 and will be used for pre-production testing, followed by an improved VX-2 platform that would underpin the Kar and also be made available for other automakers to license or purchase.
“We are a technology company first, a visionary design firm next and not planing to become a manufacturing corporation,” said Seven. “Not only will we be able to sell KleenSpeed vehicles, we can sell KleenSpeed EV platform technology to other volume automakers.”
Seven foresees a return to the “coachbuilding” days of automaking, where the likes of Fisher Body, H.J. Mulliner and Ghia topped chassis from Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Alfa Romeo. In this case, automakers without an existing EV design could take advantage of KleenSpeed’s engineering expertise and fit their designs onto a VX-2 chassis.
Unlike coachbuilders of yore, KleenSpeed’s platform won’t just be for luxury automobiles. There’s no word on pricing yet, but Seven says the Kar will “hit the sweet spot of price, performance, functionality, style and social awareness.”
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/