by Robert Hoevers | Nov 26, 2019
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Squad Mobility has unveiled the Squad: a 2-person Solar Car for daily (sub)urban mobility. The Squad (Solar Quad) is being developed by two ex-Lightyear employees who share a desire to develop an affordable Solar Car for a large group of consumers. The Squad is already available for pre-order in the EU. Retail price starts at around € 5750 (ex. VAT).
The City Car will be homologated in the L6e category, Light 4-wheeled vehicles. Depending on demand and local legislation, an 80 km/h version will also be offered later. The Squad offers space for two passengers sitting side by side, and a storage compartment in the back. It combines the practicality of a scooter and the ease of driving a City Car. Body panels and doors are deliberately left out to keep costs low, and for efficiency, ruggedness, durability and easy access. A full roll cage with seat belts and 4-wheel stability offer safety for all passengers. Two children (up to 1.25 m) can sit on rear seats where legally permitted.
Emissions & congestion
Robert Hoevers CEO: “Emissions and traffic congestion are the two main issues in today’s urban mobility. Our Solar Car can charge up to 6.000 km per year in a sunny country with its own solar roof, making it completely emission free for most users driving up to 20 km or 1 hour per day for 300 days a year in an urban environment. Most vehicles in this segment don’t drive more than 4000 km per year. Extra range can be charged directly from the grid with an ordinary plug and/or our portable batteries.” Extra battery packs can be ordered for increased range.
“Old concentric European style cities are not particularly designed for cars. We see a further increase in global urbanization with 90% of the city population living in the suburbs, all venturing into the city center regularly for work, school, shopping or entertainment. Biking and/or public transport is great but not always the best solution, for example, in bad weather or for people who don’t live near a station. The space claim or footprint of a stationary car is 10 m2, whereas a Squad only needs 2 m2. Therefore, 4 Squads can easily be parked crosswise in one car parking space.”
Robert Hoevers shares his passion for mobility with Chris Klok. Together they have more than 40 years of experience in mobility, varying from scooters to motorcycles, FIA Formula E, Solar Cars and even flying cars.
Chris Klok, Chief of Design: “The Squad is conceived as an essential mobility solution, with state-of-the-art technology such as in-wheel motors and a solar panel. This combination will make the Solar Car accessible for a much larger group of users, without the hassle of maintenance. It’s no coincidence that the Squad technically resembles a scooter. The first post-war scooters were designed with exactly those values in mind. Today, we offer this for two people, with safety and better protection against the elements. In some ways the Squad opens up a completely new segment. The strength of the concept is that we keep both efficiency and costs low, by focusing on bare essentials.”
“We have spent a lot of time on the design of the City Car. The small overall dimensions are quite a challenge. The goal was to develop a distinctive, youthful, accessible and fresh design for this new category and to disrupt the car archetype, of people moving about in their own little box. We want to make this a more social, interactive experience where the passengers feel included in their urban environment, while still enjoying the comfort of protection from weather and sun.”
The roof, windshield and floor will keep you dry on most days. “We figured that this is good enough for most of us. Waiting for public transport and/or walking that last mile to your destination is also not often 100% dry. If you really want to be 100% dry, we offer side protection covers as an accessory.”
The 45 km/h speed limit was a logical choice. Robert: “45 km/h is more than the average speed in most cities and the €5000 – €10000 mobility segment still offers plenty of opportunities for innovation compared to other segments. Because of their low speed and weight, these vehicles have a high intrinsic energy efficiency.
There are huge cost and tax benefits in this segment. For example, there is no congestion charge, no road tax, no parking fees, low insurance fees and no car driving license needed in most markets.
Sharing platforms and cargo
The City Car is specifically developed for sharing platforms. Shared mobility users need easy access, intuitive operation and a safe, stable ride. Cities are looking for the smallest space footprint and zero emissions. Sharing platform operators appreciate the modest investment, the automatic solar charging, exchangeable batteries and high durability of the Squad. All these factors combined make the Squad extremely suitable for sharing platforms.
Squad Mobility have also developed a cargo and delivery version with cargo storage in the back.
Subscription and/or lease models will be offered next year with a target lease price of around €100 per month.
The Squad is currently available for pre-order on the Squad Mobility website, both as signature version (€5000 reservation cost) with maximum range for first 100 in line customers, and as regular production (€500). Production will start at the end 2022 in the EU.