Get ready for yet another electric micro-car, this time from a new British startup known as Ark. The recently unveiled Ark Zero is said to be a surprisingly affordable electric micro-car coming later this year.
The electric micro-car, classified as a quadricycle in Europe, claims to have seating for two adults and one dog.
The seating looks like a tandem setup with a pair of seats placed one behind the other, fighter pilot style.
The specs aren’t exactly mind-blowing, but that’s likely because the Ark Zero appears to be designed to meet the lower-performance L6e category of quadricycles.
Lower regulatory limits in that classification could explain the 28 mph (45 km/h) top speed and the weak 2.2 kW (3 horsepower) electric motor. It’s the same style of rear axle-mounted electric motor used on Chinese micro-cars like my cute little Minghong or my electric mini-truck.
The claimed 50.3 mile (81 km) range per charge won’t win any distance records, but the Ark Zero is obviously designed for tighter city streets and areas where you probably wouldn’t be planning very many trips above 50 miles.
Even if the trips are shorter, though, that doesn’t mean you won’t supposedly be traveling in style. The electric micro-car touts features including keyless startup, electric windows, hill hold assist, a sun roof and an electric heater, though air conditioning doesn’t appear to be an option.
The Ark Zero even claims to use fairly sophisticated automotive style construction including an aluminum monocoque body and MacPherson strut suspension. That aluminum shell is part of the vehicle’s supposed safety features, as the company explained:
Aluminum, a lightweight yet sturdy metal, is known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Its inherent properties allow our cars to offer agile performance without compromising on structural integrity. The robust aluminum body of our electric cars forms a solid protective shell around you, offering enhanced resistance in case of impact.
The price is perhaps the most eye-catching part of this entire unveiling, with a sticker price of just £5,995 (approximately US $7,600).
Production even sounds imminent, with the website’s sales page boasting, “Order today to get your vehicle delivered within 14 to 16 weeks. All you have to do is choose the color you want.”
The only problem is that I’m not sure I believe any of this.
There is almost certainly no way that this type of vehicle can be produced at this price and sold at a profit. Most quadricycles cost at least twice this much due to their low volume production. The Citroen Ami electric quadricycle starts at around 70% more than the Ark Zero, yet has 3x the motor power.
Don’t even get me started on other issues, like that all of the images appear to be computer renderings, despite deliveries supposedly starting in less than four months. Or the fact that there’s already a European electric microcar named the Zero. Or that the 50-mile range was calculated using a motorcycle test cycle.
Something isn’t quite adding up here, and I’m guessing we won’t have to wait 14 to 16 weeks to find out.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Actually, even then you’ll have to convince me that this will become a real product. We’ve yet to see a tandem-style electric micro-car take off. Even neighbors like Barcelona-based Silence have spent years bringing their offset seating micro-car to market.
So jot me down in the “skeptical but watching” category.
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