University of Munich unveils electric car concept

Visio.M concept
Technical University Munich

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has thrown down the gauntlet to car manufacturers, after unveiling its own electric car.

Called the Visio.M concept, the small hatchback has been unveiled ahead of its public debut at German trade fair eCarTec later this year. It was jointly developed by university researchers and industry experts – including figures from BMW and Daimler - and is being billed as a sporty, safe and affordable electric vehicle.

The Visio.M is powered by a 13.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, which feeds an electric motor that develops 20 bhp. Despite the meagre power output, the car is light enough to reach a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and travel up to 160 km (99.4 miles) on a single charge. When the battery is depleted, it can be recharged in approximately three to four hours with a typical 230 V outlet.

Automotive professor Markus Lienkamp, chair of technology at TUM, explained the team's approach: "Light weight is essential for an electric vehicle because more weight requires more battery performance for the same range and thus generates higher costs. More weight also means poorer driving dynamics at the same performance."

Taking this into consideration, engineers developed a carbonfibre monocoque and have used lightweight materials such as polycarbonate windows in the vehicle's construction. As a result the Visio.M weighs in at just 450kg when the batteries are removed.

Does this researcher's concept have what it takes to compete with the new electric car ranges from the likes of BMW and Audi? Check out the gallery and have your say below.

Visio.M Concept

Visio.M Concept

Author: Padraig Mallett