Mia electric microbus first impressions GreenMotor co uk

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August Electric Vehicle

26 September 2011

I ve been enough to tour a couple of car since I started writing blog.

In Oxford I visited the final assembly line. how painted bodyshells creep the factory as glass, engines, and interiors are bolted, screwed, and glued into place. To with Mini s famously variety of optional combinations, arrive on site in carefully order a truck delivering for example, will disgorge the colours and trims in the same as they ll be needed on the line.

recently, in Sweden, I saw giant of galvanised steel going in one end of the factory, and shiny new Volvos off the line at the other. In between, the robots and skilful people 12,000 components together one functioning, reliable whole. It has to be seen to be appreciated.


As a result I have a lot of sympathy for firms trying to compete in unforgiving arena of complexity. is why I m impressed rather than with my first, brief of the Mia electric microbus. Even if a drivetrain does dramatically matters, it s still a huge to design, develop and assemble a functioning car.

Yes, the has all the tactile quality of a mop and bucket, and the steel frame chassis and shudders over bumps as if might be imminent, but it drives and and stops and nothing actually off.

I ve blogged about the Mia It was initially developed by coachbuilder best known for building roofs for coupé-convertibles. The project is now in the of a newly formed French Mia Electric, established for the purpose.

The Mia has subtly remodelled since it debuted as the Heuliez Friendly. But its form is unchanged: a loaf-shaped with twin sliding doors, electric drive, and an seating plan.

The doors slide open, a firm prod of an unusual, push-button. They re not powered, but easily on their runners, a section of roof and floor them. The two cutouts ease to the central driver s seat, but is still a little awkward due to a of carpeted chassis rails stand proud of the floor.

in place, the first thing strikes is that the footwell is cramped. There are only two and it s just as well there isn t a as it wouldn t fit. I had assumed the central driving position lead to a pedal box fit for a pair of s boots, but the reality is quite the

The rear-view mirror has migrated to the top corner of the windscreen, so as not to reflect a of your own forehead. It would be natural for UK drivers to glance top but perhaps that will changed when UK deliveries next year. That and the dip of the headlights is all that needs to to switch the car between left and hand drive markets.

Three editions of the car will go on a three-seater that s 2.9m and weighs 815kg, a 3.2m four-seater that adds 21kg to the kerb weight, and an long-wheelbase van. A Smart for comparison, is 2.7m long.

All Mia versions have a top speed of (62mph). Range is quoted as (80 miles) from the 12kWh iron phosphate battery will be fitted to UK cars. A recharge takes five

Inside, the plastic steering is large and incongruously flat-bottomed, but boast an airbag. The Mia is homologated as a car, so has had to pass crash before going on sale. s no power assistance, but low gearing, tyres and the Mia s modest bulk the steering feels reasonably

The instrument panel is a backlit strip giving basic including the all important battery There s no range prediction, but I m one will be included before UK start. The instrument display in the centre of a wide floating holding the various control At the extreme right is the gear a smooth round pushbutton simply toggles between and reverse.

Mia electric Electric Cars

Oddly, there s no way to neutral other than by and sliding open a door, the transmission is automatically taken out of

There s a conventional handbrake next to the driver s seat, a eco-mode button, and that s it for the major controls.

On the move, the Mia unfamiliar mainly due to the central position. You quickly adjust to the car on the road it helps that the Mia is to begin with but it still odd chatting to passengers seated out of sight behind you (unless you your living as a chauffeur or cab I suppose).

Refinement, as discussed, is not exactly the There s plenty of chassis and noise as well as shimmies and and there s a surprising amount of roll around corners, the low positioning of the 150kg batteries.

from the 13bhp motor leisurely, doubly so in eco mode, but is adequate for urban roads. I the car on a short closed loop at the EcoVelocity show rather on real roads, so wasn t to assess what happens above 30mph.

Halting these modest speeds brakes that feel normal, assisted by a conventional cylinder that s primed by a electric pump.

I imagine the Mia be fun to drive on proper roads, but it wouldn t be fun to buy in the first place. will start at 22,012 a 5,000 contribution from the s plug-in car grant, which buyers will find to square (and not only it s about 2,000 more the equivalent model s price in

As I said at the start, I unreservedly the talent and commitment required to get a new car to stage. But building a product and people to buy it are very different The Mia s chassis might not be the most I ve ever driven but at the current given the alternatives, the business looks shakier still.

Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars
Mia electric Electric Cars

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