Uniti's Crowdfunded EV Will be Available in 2019

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【Summary】Uniti will not be manufacturing this EV alone. It will instill help from Siemens, the company’s official partner for the project.

  Michael Cheng  ·  Nov 12, 2017 2:15 PM PT
author: Michael Cheng   

Crowdfunding has become a popular medium for startups developing an electric vehicle (EV). The financing method is suitable for businesses looking to quickly gain support for new projects. Uniti, a Sweden-based EV startup, is one of those companies currently taking this unconventional route.

The startup, which was launched in 2016, recently provided an update about its project. Highly anticipated backers will get to see a preview of the car on December 7. After the big reveal, the business will go into production mode at its plant in Landskrona, Sweden. If all goes according to plan, the flagship EV should be available to consumers by 2019.

Uniti EV

The Uniti EV is specifically designed for the millennial demographic. It was conceptualized using virtual reality, with help from its partner (more on this later). The unit will come with 186-mile range per full charge. Moreover, the EV will be offered in a two-seat or four-seat configuration. Inside the car, the startup envisions an e-steering platform, as well as an augmented reality display.

Developing this type of technology doesn't seem feasible for a newly launched startup. However, Uniti will not be manufacturing this EV alone. It will instill help from Siemens, the company's official partner for this project.

"The partnership with Siemens is essential to our long-term plans as we now have the opportunity to not only develop a sustainable car, but also manufacture it in a sustainable way at a large scale, faster and with a significantly lower initial capital demand," said Lewis Horne, Founder and CEO of Uniti.

The startup's crowdfunding campaign was facilitated by FundedByMe. During the financing campaign, over 570 investors, residing in 45 different countries worldwide, contributed a total of $1.4 million (the average pledge was worth $2,300, which is roughly 10 percent of the unit's price). From this, Uniti must fulfill 915 reservations. It has 140 (non-binding) pre-orders for the EV outside of the crowdfunding campaign. The establishment was also provided research-phase funding from Lund University and LU Maxlab.

Uniti intends to sell the car online, hinting the EV will likely not be sold in traditional showrooms.

Uniti-Siemens Partnership

Sustainable manufacturing practices are at the center of the startup's strategy. It plans to automate the production process, leveraging Siemens' PLM software platform, under its partnership agreement.

"Our fully-automated production line can basically have the lights turned off for 22 hours a day," said Horne.

Why is the company going out of its way to make its plant sustainable? By reducing its carbon footprint during manufacturing, Uniti believes it can speed up the assembly process. Additionally, the startup plans to use large amounts of heavy-duty and lightweight composite materials to reduce costs.

Siemens' PLM software platform comes into the picture during the planning and execution stages. The virtual platform decreases the need for testing in the latter stages of production.

"The whole process is so perfected that the first vehicle produced on the physical production line can be sold directly to the customer with no test vehicles needed," cited Mats Friberg, CEO of Siemens.

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