December 21st, 2018 by Steve Hanley
Tiny e.GO Mobile — an electric car startup based in Aachen, Germany — says delivery of its Life no-frills EV will begin in April.
By 2022, it plans to be selling 100,000 of the cars a year.
The Life looks like a squished down version of the Kia Soul. The car will have a range of 75 to 114 miles, a top speed of 72 to 94 miles per hour, and be priced between $18,000 and $22,500. Definitely an entry-level car at an entry-level price.
To keep costs down, e.GO sources as many parts off the shelf as possible. The drivetrain comes from Bosch and the tail lights were originally made for trucks. Founder and CEO Guenther Schuh tells Bloomberg he expects his new company to have a positive cash flow beginning next year and to become profitable by 2021, something it took Tesla nearly a decade to accomplish.
Like Elon Musk, Schuh started one business and sold it at a profit within a few years. He plowed the profits from the sale back into e.GO and secured an additional €135 million from ZF Friedrichshafen. He has enlisted the aid of HSBC to secure an additional €300 million in financing so the company can begin producing 4 EV models, one of which will be an autonomous people mover to be used in shuttle bus service within defined geographic areas.
Schuh is no stranger to electric vehicles. Six years ago, the chair of production engineering at RWTH Aachen University — one of Germany’s top technical schools — developed a bare-bones electric delivery vehicle. It had no AC, no radio, and a top speed of barely 50 mph, but it was just what Deutsche Post was looking for to decarbonize its urban delivery fleet. It purchased the production rights to the little electric delivery vehicle and the name Schuh gave it — StreetScooter — in 2014.
e.GO is already planning to expand beyond Aachen. It is exploring joint ventures in China and Mexico and looking into manufacturing battery cells in Germany. It is in talks with several Chinese cities about using Mover, its 15 person autonomous shuttle bus, for public transportation.
Schuh says he owes a debt of gratitude to Elon Musk and Tesla. “I’ve needed Tesla as a role model,” he says. “For so long, no startup or individual entered this shark tank alone, so it was great to get a demonstration of how that might work.” One company started at the top of the market and is moving its way down. The other is starting at the bottom of the market and working its way up. Hopefully both will be wildly successful and help point the world to a sustainable future.
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