A new electric vehicle brand, mia electric, is set to hit UK shores next month when it showcases three variants of its innovative Microbus at this year’s EcoVelocity motor show (8th – 11th September).
Having been one of the highlights at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, this will be the first time these cars have been seen in the UK and the first opportunity for the general public to get behind the wheel and experience mia’s zero-emission urban mobility for themselves.
Head of UK sales at mia, Richard Deslandes, said “We’re delighted to be debuting our cars in the UK. To be launching our innovative approach to 100% electric zero-emission mobility in the shadow of the iconic chimney stacks of Battersea Power Station, in their day one of the largest producers of CO2 in the capital, seems very fitting.
“The mia has been designed with cities like London firmly in mind and we consider the UK as a priority market for us (alongside France and Germany). We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received since we launched in Geneva and now have 3000 confirmed orders. Production started in June and we will be producing 4000 vehicles this year to meet this initial demand. We hope to ramp up production at our factory in Cerizay, France, to a total capacity of about 14,000 by the end of 2012.”
The cars, which go on sale in the UK in the first quarter of 2012, were designed by the former head of design at Volkswagen, Murat Günak, and come in three configurations – the standard short wheelbase model and two extended models, the mia L and the mia box van. Thanks to its light-weight design concept, the standard model weighs only 750kg (extended models weighs 759kg) giving it extremely economical power consumption and low running costs (approx £1.30 per 100 kms).
All three vehicles are powered by an 18kW electric motor at the rear of the car that gives a top speed of 68 mph (110km/h). A 120 to 130km range is available from the 12 kWh battery pack that comes as standard and the lithium iron phosphate batteries can be fully charged in five hours. This technically sound battery system is exceptionally safe and helps alleviate range anxiety by allowing “no memory effect” charging. This means the battery can be charged for short top-up periods with absolutely no adverse effect to the life of the battery. (e.g. a ten minute charge will give an extra 6km of range).
The standard short wheelbase mia has three seats in total, while the extended mia L has four. Instead of three back seats, as in the mia L, the mia box van features a cargo capacity of 1,500 litres. The most conspicuous feature of all three variants of the mia is the central driving position which allows the driver to get in and out of the car on both sides. This seat arrangement provides the driver with a perfect view of the city traffic and the passengers at the back with plenty of legroom. It also gives the cabin a unique office-style layout that features a display with space to mount a tablet computer and iPod.
When discussing the philosophy behind the car, Murat Günak, explains “As a father of four I wanted to pursue a new, sustainable path towards environmentally-friendly mobility of the future. We started with a blank piece of paper and asked ourselves the same question over and over again: What does a customer really want to be mobile in the city? Our conclusion was a compact-yet-spacious microbus that’s well organized and single-mindedly focused on urban transportation.”
David Wilkie, the former design director at Italian styling house Bertone and now design partner at mia, said “Working on the mia project was like reinventing the car itself. It hasn’t been designed to look swoopy and fast, it’s designed to be practical and likeable. A lot of cars are derivatives of mainstream cars but this is all new and perfect for big cities. It will undoubtedly become harder, and maybe even illegal, to drive petrol cars in downtown urban areas, so electric city cars like the mia have enormous potential.”
The purchase price of the cars at £22,000 (after the Government’s £5,000 incentive subsidy) and all variants will be exempt from the congestion charge in London. The car and batteries come with three year warranties, with the option to purchase up to five years.