The traditional way to introduce new car models is to first make a top end vehicle which costs the earth and slowly introduce more basic versions until you start to get to a level which real people can actually afford.
One new company that plans to perhaps take a different approach is Bolt, yes that’s right, named after Usain Bolt because he is backing an electric car startup based in Florida called Bolt Mobility. This past week, the company unveiled its first car, the B-Nano, which it says it has been working on in secret for the past two years.
It will be available in late 2020, and the Bolt Nano is an all-electric, two-passenger, four-wheeled e-car commuters can use when it’s wet or they have to travel just that bit further or they have too much baggage. It is robust with high side impact safety features and the blurb says it is big enough “for all sizes of passengers and baggage space.”
It is a two person urban EV which has the look of a European city runabout small and simple— and it is the top of the range offering for Bolt which also makes Electric bikes and scooters available alongside the cars in an extended sharing scheme. It is designed for short trips of between 2 and 15 miles. But so far no-one has come out and said how far or fast it can go and how big its battery is. The company say it is small enough to drive through a doorway (big doorways mind), and four Bolt Nano’s can fit in one regular parking space.
Because of the function they have in mind, when people run out of battery, a new one can be brought and dropped in. Here is the shock – the target price is just $9,999 and reservations are being accepted now for just $999. So they can be purchased as well as sold to cities for car sharing.
Since Bolt Mobility is based in Florida, you might assume the B-Nano would be intended purely for use in the US, but of course that just wouldn’t work as there are so few trips of 2 miles or roundtrips of just 15 miles. And because the company’s bikes are already in use in Paris, it make sense that European capitals are the target base. Here Bolt has had real problems with a rival, who upon hearing that Bolt was about to launch, changed its name to Bolt ahead of Usain’s arrival. Hence he has had to settle for the B-Nano and cannot even call the company Bolt in France.
The company plan is to provide electric scooters, bikes and cars in a concerted attempt to cut down on cars in capitals, and will work with City authorities in partnership.