Wink electric vehicles offer car-like features – and solar charging
If most of your car trips are fairly short and made at lower-than-freeway speeds, perhaps you don't need a full-on automobile. A less-expensive Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) may suffice, and US startup Wink Motors has just announced a new line of the critters … some of which can be solar-charged.
According to the company, all four Wink NEVs are fully street legal throughout the United States, and are manufactured to exceed safety requirements stipulated in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. With a government-limited top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), they're allowed to operate on roads with speed limits of up to 35 mph (56 km/h).
Unlike some "golf-cart-like" NEVs, they're all fully enclosed, seat four passengers, and offer car-like features such as air conditioners, heaters, electric windows, electric door locks, mirrors, 3-point seat belts, backup cameras, infotainment screens, USB chargers, glove boxes, trunks, and folding rear seats for extra cargo space.
They're also all propelled by an electric motor with 3 kW of continuous power (7 kW peak), which is in turn powered by a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack – the latter can be charged from a regular 120-volt household outlet. And if you think they look somewhat familiar, you're not mistaken.
"We started with two existing body designs to avoid reinventing the wheel and reduce tooling costs," Wink CEO Mark Dweck told us. "Then we had to develop them for the US market, which meant designing the interior, controls, safety mechanism, motor, batteries and other key components along with NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] guidelines for US motor vehicles. So while parts like the body panels, door handles and others are existing materials, the guts and resulting vehicles are all unique to Wink."
At the bottom of the Wink pack is the US$8,995 two-door Sprout model. One 6-hour charge of its 60V/60-Ah battery is said to be good for a range of 40 miles (64 km). The vehicle tips the scales at a claimed 761 lb (345kg).
Next up is the $9,995, 798-lb (362-kg) Sprout Solar, with its removable rooftop solar panel that reportedly provides up to 15 miles (24 km) of extra range per day – although that obviously depends on factors such as usage and geographical location. The vehicle also has a higher-capacity 80-Ah battery, one 8-hour charge of which should be good for about 60 miles (97 km).
The $10,995 Mark 1 model loses the solar panel but gains a rear hatchback, more interior space, and a larger rear cargo section. It retains the Sprout Solar's battery, offering the same 60-mile range, and weighs in at 1,190 lb (540 kg).
As you would guess from its name, the 1,250-lb (567-kg) Wink Mark 2 Solar adds the solar panel back in. While its other specs are similar to those of the Mark 1, it does sport four doors, along with the rear hatch. It's priced at $11,995.
Readers should note that all the quoted prices are part of an introductory offer, which is in effect until Nov. 30th. The Winks can be ordered via the company website – Dweck says that deliveries should begin later this month.
Source: Wink Motors
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Sure - none of the above boast the largely tokenistic, virtue-signalling solar panels that the pricier US-made Winks offer - but do you really want to be driving around with a non-aerodynamic, drag-increasing, upfront price-inflating solar panel on your roof just to reap a real-world average of 6-7 miles a day of "free" and eventually green solar electricity?
Squirrel mini EV($1300) - Video: https://youtu.be/xb5iIsc5684