Not too long ago, car enthusiasts in Indian were queueing up to pre-book Tesla's most affordable Model 3 for $1,000. Thanks to Swedish electric car startup Uniti, auto buffs in the country can now pre-order a 'premium' electric car meant for urban roads at just Rs 1,000. The automaker is also offering a 100 per cent refund of the booking deposit.
Scandinavian carmaker has tied up with the Delhi-based Bird Group to roll out a 5-seater electric car priced at Rs 7,14,000 (ex-showroom) by 2020. At the Auto Expo 2018, Uniti has showcased its 2-seater electric car - Uniti One - alongside a virtual reality demonstration of the 5-seater car.
Though the deliveries of the two-seater variant will begin in 2019, the 5-seater car for the Indian market will only be available in 2020. The local assembly and mass distribution of the vehicles will be done by the Bird Group.
Uniti claims its 'premium electric city car' replaces a "press and pull" user experience with "touch and swipe". The 5-seater car for the Indian market will cover approximately 200 kilometres on a single charge.
Uniti CEO Lewis Horne said, "Our vehicles are optimal for the Indian market and well aligned with India's strong demand for clean mobility."
Bird Group Executive Director Ankur Bhatia said, "We have the technology in place for the car which will be launched, as we have a 2-seater car in Europe built with same resources."
Bhatia added that the company has tied up with dealers in India and is planning to provide service in 40 cities by 2020. "The move is in alignment with the governments vision to ensure vehicles are electric by 2030," Bhatia added.
Albin Wilson, Art Director at Uniti told Business Today that Uniti is aiming for a safe vehicle by having a lot of active safety and passive safety. "In active safety we are having camera system that detect its environment and that can stop the collusion from happening and then we have passive safety with the air bags in the front and in passenger doors," Wilson said.
"We're trying to reinvent cars from the ground up... making it more futuristic in the interior with all the user interfaces being touch panels," Wilson added.
Responding to why a 5-seater version was chosen for India market, Wilson says that electric carmaker wants to launch large vehicle that can be more adaptive with usage patterns that people actually have today when they commute to work or commute to home or do their shopping.
Travel services firm Bird Group had last year shown interest in acquiring Air India's ground handling subsidiary. The group has interests in technology, aviation services, hospitality, luxury retail and education.
The Swedish electric car startup boasts a recyclable carbon fibre body and organic composite interior. The electric car startup claims that the car's sensor suite and intelligent safety technologies can help you avoid crashes before they happen.
On its website, Uniti says the car is 'sensibly' priced from Rs 7,14,000. "Reserve your Uniti One today with a 100 per cent refundable deposit of only Rs 1,000. Your pre-order secures your place to be among the first to own a Uniti and offers membership in our global community of Uniti enthusiasts. Membership benefits include admission to limited test drive events, access to exclusive online content and other members-only perks," the company mentions on its website.