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back to index backLATINtalk December,  2016


Portugal And Brazil Cooperate To Build An Affordable Electric Car

Tesla Motors chose to approach the electric car market starting at the top. Its strategy has worked superbly. The Tesla Model S is now outselling the Mercedes S Class sedan in most global markets including the United States and Germany. Elon Musk thinks starting at the top and working down is the way to convince the world to adopt the electric car and stop using fossil fuels to power our transportation sectors.

Musk may be correct in his thinking, but the process is taking a long time. The less expensive Model 3 sedan will start production about a year from now (hopefully), but it will still be priced out of the reach of those rely on the Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas of the world to get around. The world may not need a good 5 cent cigar but it could definitely benefit from a proper low cost electric car.

CEiiA is a Portuguese design and engineering firm that has turned its attention to the problem of making an affordable electric car. The acronym stands for the Center of Engineering and Product Development. In cooperation with Itaipu Technology Park (PTI) in Brazil, it has created just such a car.

According to its website, CEiiA is a Center of Engineering and Product Development that designs, implements and operates innovative products and systems alongside our partners in the aeronautic, mobility, naval/offshore, and automotive industries. We offer complete solutions based in robust engineering skills and unique project methodologies, covering all product development phases from concept to the production of small series, and we operate intelligent systems.

CEiiA was created in 1999 with the goal of supporting the competitiveness of the Portuguese automotive industry. Since then, CEiiA enlarged the activity, focusing on mobility, aeronautics and offshore, always pushing the industry.” The organization has made contributions to such companies as  Porsche, Siemens, Volkswagen, Pininfarina, and Isuzu.

A joint announcement by Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal and President Michel Temer of Brazil celebrates the launch of Project Mobicar. The inexpensive electric car will be built in Brazil and marketed throughout South America and Europe, according to our sister site, Cleantechnica.

Okay, the announcement is short on specifics. We don’t know anything about the new low cost electric car other than what is revealed in the video below. But that’s enough to provoke our interest. In the first place it is not some goofy three wheeled thing like the Elio or the Sondors. It appears to be a little larger than the diminutive Smart car. It has a steering wheel and a touchscreen, just like a Tesla Model 3. It’s cute and approachable in a way that doesn’t shout I’m weird and only weird people will buy me!” the way so many electric car concepts and prototypes do. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the oft rumored Google car.

The price? That’s the kicker, isn’t it? There’s no word yet on how much one of these beauties will cost. If forced to speculate, I would suggest that to have mass appeal in South America and Europe, it will have to sell for no more than $15,000. Range, time to recharge, top speed, 0-60? We don’t know any of that stuff. But if the price is right, none of those specifics will matter.

This car is not aimed at the US market where we think a car has to have 200 miles of range and be capable of getting an 80% charge in 12.2 parsecs. This car appears to be an entry level vehicle for those who need basic transportation. Nissan has said recently it intends to build an electric car for the Chinese market that sells for under $8,000. If this car gets anywhere close to that price, it will be an instant hit in markets throughout the world — except America.

Source: GAS2.org - GAI




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Other articles from the same issue (December,  2016).

The Mexican Automotive Industry: Current Situation, Challenges and Opportunities
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Government wants to make the competitive Brazilian automotive industry globally national production
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