When you’re of the opinion that current automotive technology is noisy, dirty, anti-social, masochistic, and brings out the worst in people, you would probably develop a concept car that is both less (of the above) and more of what a vehicle should ideally be.
That’s what French designer Philippe Starck did. His V+ volteis concept is fully electric – no more noise or dirt – charmingly and unfashionably boxy – no more social climbing Ferraris – and yet more or less open to the world (as more people ought to be). Working with volteis, a French EV manufacturer, Starck’s rather stark little buggy has no doors yet a full windshield, and the fabric roof is a nice complement to the wicker-work dash cum storage unit and seats.
Under the hood (pardon us, what hood?) is a 4-kilowatt engine with an 11.5 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which can get up to 40 mph and run on a single charge for 37 miles. But the illusion of simplicity is just that, because this little buggy has trailing-arm rear suspension (think Renault) and disc brakes for safer stopping. The battery is half-charged after two hours on a 220-volt circuit, and full after six, which is fairly close to the industry standard. What the V+ volteis doesn’t do is convince the world that electric cars don’t have to be ugly shopping carts –as we pointed out in a 2011 article on the Arcspeed Sports.
This “less is more” concept car is built almost completely of aluminum, so disc brakes are probably a good choice even at a top speed of 40 mph. the V+ volteis will be manufactured in a limited first run, and sold through 15 French outlets first, then offered worldwide at an estimated price tag of $40,000 – a little pricey for a buggy, but it also comes in four colors of wicker seating and dash should you want it to match your outfit.