Swiss Mindset to build super lightweight eco-car in 2009
The Swiss Mindset AG company has announced that it is planning to produce its super lightweight eco- car fitted with hybrid drive, two gull-wing doors and narrow 22-inch wheels by 2009.
Designed by Volkswagen's former design director, Murat Gunak, who was appointed Mindset CEO, the prototype features design aspects from the hatchback and coupe with a long bonnet and rectangular rear with glass roof, the dpa reported.
The round headlights are similar to the sports car design of the 1950s and 1960s.
Mindset, a company set up by Spirt Avert AG, is engaged in the development of a so-called "alternative automobile concept" at a time of rising oil prices and widespread measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Europe.
The car under development is based on the "zero-emission vehicle principle and will set itself apart from the more widely known experiments in the area of electric cars, as well as from the traditional hybrid car models," Spirt Avert announced on its website.
A fully functional prototype will be produced later this year with a market launch scheduled for the second half of next year, combining an electric motor and a combustion engine in a dual serial-hybrid engine.
The main energy source is a lithium-ion-battery. The driver can choose between two modes of driving.
In the electro-mode the built-in electric motor is used. A fully- charged battery guarantees a cruising range of over 100 kilometres, sufficient for most city driving and daily commutes.
In the hybrid mode an optional, compact combustion engine is activated additionally, which, at a constant optimal engine speed, functions as an electricity generator for the battery charge, boosting the cruising range to over 800 kilometres.
In electric mode, the Mindset is emission-free. When driven in hybrid mode emissions increase to a maximum of 70 grams per kilometre.
Lightweight construction was the primary development goal. The aluminium space frame structure is combined with composite body materials, reducing by 30 per cent the weight compared to conventional construction methods.
An annual production run of 10,000 units is planned, with the car priced at 78,000 dollars.