aCar: The Electric “All-Rounder”

The new prototype of the aCar at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt this September.

aCar: The Electric “All-Rounder
aCar - The electric “all-rounder”. (Illustration: Chair of Industrial Design) Credit: Media TUM

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and partners have developed a custom-designed electric car for the needs of the population in Africa. This new electric car is named as aCar. It is specifically designed for passenger and cargo transportation.

According to scientists, this aCar will strengthen rural structures and helps drive the economy. It is not only greener but also the better solution in technical terms. The car needs low-maintenance and can apply its full torque directly to accelerating from a stop.

This aCar originally is an off-road capable vehicle and capable of transporting heavy loads. Its modular structure allows other uses for example for water treatment.

The company noted, “Mobility is a part of our everyday lives: We transport large loads, commute to work, fly to a faraway country on vacation. However, access to a vehicle of any kind is hardly a given for many people in Africa. For farmers who live far from urban centers, this means that they have no direct access to medical care, education or to political processes. They are dependent on transport contractors who bring their products to the next city for sale to make a living. As a result, many people are leaving rural areas in search of better living conditions in the city.”

“With the aCar we have developed a mobility concept that can solve these problems. Our objective was to conceive a vehicle that precisely meets the requirements of the rural population in sub-Saharan countries.”

Primarily, the vehicle is intended for transporting passengers and cargo, with a total load capacity of one ton. Its battery offers a variety of other possible applications. For example, an energy source or as a drive for high-consumption applications. It also offers an electric range of 80 kilometers.

The 20 kWh battery can be loaded from an ordinary 220-volt household wall socket within 7 hours. There are solar panels mounted on the roof of this car that gathers energy throughout the day.

Martin Šoltés said, “Of course we’ll have to import high-tech components. For example, such as the battery and the electric motors in the beginning. In future, as many of the aCar’s components as possible are to be manufactured on location, in order to strengthen local economies.”

“In order to make the automobile affordable for people on location, the price for the basic vehicle in Africa is to be kept under 10,000 Euros on a long-term basis.”

To make sure the aCar also meets all the demands placed on it on location, they shipped the vehicle to Ghana.

Scientists will present their new technology at the IAA. Currently, the team is working on optimizing weight, on electrical systems and software, acoustics and ergonomic seating and visibility.

Specifications of aCar:

  • Power output: 2 x 8 kilowatts
  • Electric drive range: 80 kilometers
  • EU vehicle classification: L7e
  • Voltage level: 48 volts
  • Battery capacity: 20 kWh
  • Top speed: 60 km/h
  • Tare weight: 800 kg
  • Load capacity: 1000 kg
  • Length: 3.7 m
  • Width: 1.5 m
  • Height: 2.1 m