Automotive

Finished Visio.M electric concept car revealed to public

Finished Visio.M electric conc...
The Visio.M on the test track, earlier this year
The Visio.M on the test track, earlier this year
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The Visio.M on the test track, earlier this year
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The Visio.M on the test track, earlier this year
The Visio.M is currently on display in Munich
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The Visio.M is currently on display in Munich
The car still has a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and a range of about 160 km (99 miles)
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The car still has a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and a range of about 160 km (99 miles)
It has a coefficient of drag of 0.24 and frontal area of 1.69 square meters (18.19 sq ft)
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It has a coefficient of drag of 0.24 and frontal area of 1.69 square meters (18.19 sq ft)
Including its 85-kg (187-lb) battery, the car's total weight is 535 kg (1,179 lb)
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Including its 85-kg (187-lb) battery, the car's total weight is 535 kg (1,179 lb)
A 360-degree radar- and camera-based traffic-monitoring system, which reportedly identifies collisions moments before they happen
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A 360-degree radar- and camera-based traffic-monitoring system, which reportedly identifies collisions moments before they happen
Heat generated by the running of the car is recovered for use in heating the cabin, plus a carbon-neutral ethanol-powered heater is on hand for use in particularly cold climates
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Heat generated by the running of the car is recovered for use in heating the cabin, plus a carbon-neutral ethanol-powered heater is on hand for use in particularly cold climates
There's no word on eventual commercial availability, although TUM has stated that "The total cost of ownership, including initial investment and operating costs, will be lower than that of a comparable combustion engine car"
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There's no word on eventual commercial availability, although TUM has stated that "The total cost of ownership, including initial investment and operating costs, will be lower than that of a comparable combustion engine car"

Three years ago, we first heard about the Mute electric concept car. Created via a collaboration between 20 departments at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), it was designed chiefly to be efficient, inexpensive and safe. A project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research followed, in which a consortium of over a dozen companies (including TUM, Daimler and BMW) set about designing a Mute-based city car known as the Visio.M. That two-seater car is now complete, and is being revealed to the public for the first time this week.

Even though the Visio.M has just a 15-kW (20-hp) electric motor, the car still has a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and a range of about 160 km (99 miles) with two passengers and luggage. That's actually better than the Mute's 100 km (62-mile) range, although that car has a more modest 10-kWh battery – speaking of which, the Visio.M's 13.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be charged from a 230-volt socket, in a claimed three to four hours.

So, how is all that pulled off? Well, first of all, the Visio.M is light. Including its 85-kg (187-lb) battery, the car's total weight is 535 kg (1,179 lb). This is just 35 kg (77 lb) more than the Mute, although it's a full 135 kg (298 lb) over the project partners' original goal of 400 kg (882 lb). By contrast, though, the electric version of the diminutive Smart fortwo coupe tips the scales at 900 kg (1,984 lb).

Including its 85-kg (187-lb) battery, the car's total weight is 535 kg (1,179 lb)
Including its 85-kg (187-lb) battery, the car's total weight is 535 kg (1,179 lb)

One of the reasons for the Visio.M's light weight is the use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, along with aluminum, in the passenger compartment and roof frame. Additionally, all of the windows are made from polycarbonate. According to TUM, the material is half the weight of glass, but is just as durable thanks to a scratch- and weathering-resistant coating. The chassis, steering and transmission also incorporate a lightweight design.

Other efficiency-boosting features include an aerodynamic body, with a coefficient of drag of 0.24 and frontal area of 1.69 square meters (18.19 sq ft); tires optimized for low rolling resistance; and a torque vectoring system that evenly distributes both braking and driving forces between the rear wheels, allowing up to twice as much energy to be recovered when braking than would otherwise be possible.

Additionally, heat generated by the running of the car is recovered for use in heating the cabin, plus a carbon-neutral ethanol-powered heater is on hand for use in particularly cold climates – that heater does not draw power from the battery. On hot days, electrothermal converters in the cooling aggregate and seats help cool things down without the use of coolant fluids.

A 360-degree radar- and camera-based traffic-monitoring system, which reportedly identifies collisions moments before they happen
A 360-degree radar- and camera-based traffic-monitoring system, which reportedly identifies collisions moments before they happen

Safety-wise, the Visio.M packs some other interesting features. Among these is a 360-degree radar- and camera-based traffic-monitoring system, which reportedly identifies collisions moments before they happen. This works in conjunction with two-point belts, that are worn by passengers as part of their regular seat belt. When a side impact is about to occur, the belt pulls the passenger on that side in toward the center of the cabin, away from the point of impact. At the same time, the side airbags deploy, as does one between the driver and passenger, to keep them from slamming into one another.

The Visio.M is on display Oct. 21st thru 23rd at the eCarTec trade show in Munich. There's no word on eventual commercial availability, although TUM has stated that "The total cost of ownership, including initial investment and operating costs, will be lower than that of a comparable combustion engine car."

Source: TUM (German)

10 comments
Bob Flint
Range is still not ideal, but getting closer, for my short daily commute could last me almost a week. Great weight savings, and NO RUST as we love our road salt up here the body panels should last 25 to 30 years, and even swapping out the battery pack every 5-6 years it's getting interesting indeed.
Freyr Gunnar
Considering most people commute 1) by themselves and 2) less than 20k/15m one way, a recumbent is cheaper and just as fast if not faster in most urban areas.
Gavin Roe
carbon fiber is so eco friendly not, if you design to last 50years it could be overlooked, like the airbag and seat belt trick, 160km range no, replace the battery pack with a fuel cell
Mark A
Any chance the US will see this car?
Skipjack
I am not exactly sure how that is an improvement over what Tesla is already offering, other than maybe price at the dealer. The latter will improve in a couple of years when Tesla will release their cheaper family car. That car will have better range, better top speed and will be bigger.
Sven Ollino
It looks like a carbon fiber moped car or quadricycle, as they are now called in the uk.
Grunt
It may be an optical illusion, but those "A" pillars seem incredibly thick to me. Talk about blind-spots, you could lose an eight-wheeler and a herd of cyclists behind them. But then, I suppose it is just a technology demonstrator and, apparently, a step in the right direction....
Milton
A light weight EV that does more with less. Now that's what I'm talking 'bout! It's gonna be hard to beat the "bang for buck" you get from the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Spark EV, but I'd love to see 'em try.
Craig Jennings
Looks ok in the flesh, that's half the battle as lets be honest, most of em look rubbish. We don't want 8 year olds pointing and laughing at our considered and mature approach to our carbon footprint when all we're trying to do is leave them a less damaged earth. Damn ungrateful kids. I digress. I dream of a legit large company (because scale) setting up a EV car kit, not kit car or PR stunt car. Engine with a nice wide power selection (dial it as you may). Trans (if any) Controller Battery units that you can bank together to choose your own range. Charger. Open source software to control it. Hats off to the small crowds giving it a go, well done. But it's a v8 for the merc, such a shame.
Slowburn
How far can it go at 75mph?