Home » A Swedish Start-Up With A Silly Name Has Developed A Very Rational And Cool Small EV That Snaps Together Like Lego

A Swedish Start-Up With A Silly Name Has Developed A Very Rational And Cool Small EV That Snaps Together Like Lego

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Here at the Autopian, we’re advocates of a category of EV that so far doesn’t really exist in America: the genuinely small, low-cost, lower-range/smaller battery, something that can do the roughly 90% of your daily driving needs that aren’t road trips or anything like that. My adventures with the Changli have proven that, even in its most minimalistic forms, a small, local-use EV is an idea whose time has come. The problem so far has been that there really aren’t any options here in the US that quite meet what most people would demand as a minimum. Europe has the Citroën Ami, which comes pretty close to what I’d think would be minimally viable, and now there’s a potential new player, from Sweden: Luvly, with their Light Urban Vehicle, or LUV. I guess Chevy’s not that likely to bring back their Luv nameplate for a new small truck, so they’re probably fine. The Luvly idea is for an easy-to-assemble small EV that has just enough range and speed to be a practical daily driver. Will they actually make any of these? Who the hell knows. But it’s interesting.

I think the key to this sort of vehicle being successful lies in the ability to meet a certain baseline set of specifications and be cheap enough so that the value proposition between it and a more conventional, full-scale EV is clear. A car like the Changli definitely is cheap enough, but the 25 mph maximum speed and roughly 25 miles of range just isn’t enough to be viable. Plus, it’s kind of a deathtrap, and people don’t seem to be too crazy about that. The Luvly, based on the company’s claims, seems to fit in that sweet spot of price/range/speed/non-deathtrapitude:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Luv Specs1

So, translated into Majestic Eagle American Freedom Units, the Luvly can hit 56 mph (okay, good enough for short highway jaunts, as needed; the actual power output of the motor is not stated), 60 miles of range (that’s adequate for most daily use), a trunk that’s about nine and a half cubic feet (roughly the same as a VW Super Beetle trunk, which was a pretty good size, about double a standard Beetle trunk) and costs just under $11,000 (which, considering the average price for a new EV in America is over $50,000, is pretty damn good). All of these numbers I think are within what a viable small, daily-usable electric city/commuter/grocery-getter car should be. It also only weighs about 880 pounds, which helps explain how it can do so much with so little.

Battery-wise, Luvly is taking the approach that I personally think makes the most sense for all EVs: easily removable and swappable batteries:

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Battery

They mention a two-battery solution, and based on the way they describe recharging, “office, at the café, or like, wherever,” (ew) I think they mean these would charge from a normal wall outlet, which would be 240V for them and 120V for us. The capacity of the batteries isn’t stated, nor is the chemistry (I assume lithium-ion), and the charging time isn’t noted, either. Can this recharge from a conventional EV charger, too? Will there be battery swapping stations? Is this battery conforming to any sort of established standard, like some of the ones used in China? There’s a lot of questions that need answering still, but conceptually, I like this method.

Construction

The company also describes how the car will be flat-packed (it’s possible this is a requirement for everything that comes out of Sweden, by decree of Emperor Ikea I) and can then be assembled in “micro-factories” at different locations. This sounds basically like the old CKD (Completely Knocked-Down) model that carmakers have been using for decades, but with a bit of a new twist, thanks to some Lego-sounding construction methods that they have a patent on:

The technology enables simple connectors to perform advanced functions, including snap-on assembly. Luvly has patented a solution to build three-dimensional sandwich composite structures from flat panels using a system of connectors. The panels connect to each other and at the same time to all types of standard parts produced by the millions – motors, wheels, seatbelts, body etc, as well as the thin, light, recyclable thermoplastic, body.

It also appears that the basic platform can be adapted into a cargo variant, and, based on that little illustration, some sort of sporty one? Or, perhaps a three-wheel solution to get tax and regulation benefits in various markets?

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The stripped-down vehicle shown up there seems to be the car sans the outer body skin panels, and via the use of plastic foam blocks, Luvly claims that the cars will be safe, utilizing methods they call “slow formula racing tech.”

Look

Design-wise, the (likely renders) of the car that are shown on the site all have a sort of unfinished feeling, though they may just be really leaning into the “simplicity” angle. One interesting detail are the cycle-like fenders on the wheels, which seem to turn with the front wheels in large exposed wheel wells. There’s also no rear window, like the new Polestar 4, something I’m hoping isn’t becoming a trend. Images of the car also seem to show a sort of bulkhead between the seats and the rear cargo area, which is sort of unusual for a passenger vehicle.

Dash

The interior looks simple and nicely designed, and it looks like they expect the driver’s phone to do double-duty as the center-stack infotainment screen, which is a smart idea we’ve seen a few times before, and I hope there’s some sort of inductive charging behind those orange strappy things. I can’t quite tell what that interior material is on the door cards, but it looks like recycled something. Are those elastic straps on the door to hold stuff? That’d be cool.

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So, overall, what do I make of this? I absolutely think there will be markets for cars like this, and it would make a lot of sense for these to be commonplace. They just make so much damn sense, and I think, done properly, they can be satisfying and even fun little vehicles to use. There’s a lot of good ideas in the Luvly proposal here, but, like any startup, I have zero idea if they’ll actually end up building any or not. They’ve been around since 2015, so the company wasn’t just started last week, and that says something.

Do any actual running vehicles exist? Maybe? Will these micro-factories make it to America? Who knows? Still, I’m happy to see activity happening in this space, and I wish them luck. I’ll reach out and see if there’s ever a chance I can drive one and see what it’s like. Because I’m very curious.

Relatedbar

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How I Used A Chainsaw To Remove Batteries From The Cheapest EV In The World

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Scott
Scott
1 year ago

Like so many other small/weird/imaginative/appealing EV city car prototypes, I’ll be literally shocked if it’s ever available here in the US of A, but OF COURSE I want it with a level of desire I haven’t experienced in years: in some actual color, I would drive it everywhere around Los Angeles, with my dog in the passenger seat, and use it to transport ridiculously bulky objects on top from time to time despite common sense and prudence.

I agree that a back window would be preferable, unless they include a tiny camera that feeds the instrument panel screen (or your phone on the dash). Also, though almost every car looks better without bumpers, I can’t help but wince thinking about dinging up the paint on the nose or tail. Maybe just some simple aluminum (or ABS or CFRP?) tubes bent a bit to conform to the body? Though even straight bars would be OK too… even if optional (though there should be mounting points). It doesn’t need AC or heat, though decent cabin ventilation would be appreciated, nor do they need to include any infotainment at all… not even a radio. A couple of door or dash speakers would be sufficient, accessible via a jack on the dash and bluetooth. I’ll add a band of dark tint at the top of the windshield if it’s clear all the way to the top, just to cut the sun a bit.

Come on: PLEASE let it be it reality and keep it absolutely under US$12,500. with direct sales/no dealer markup pricing, and I really think they’d have plenty of takers in cities and as second cars.

Scott
Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Scott

Also: I love those fenders and that face… small, utilitarian cars always look better with simple, round headlights (and there’s the hope that they’d be cheap/er to replace if necessary). In fact, I think simple round taillight units would be better than those rounded oblongs shown, but pushed up to the top corners of the rump.

Also, are those maybe BMW-esque headlight ‘angel eyes’ rings I see in the top image? If so, I approve. I’ve seen aftermarket lights where the ring is colored… that’d be nice too. 🙂

Scott
Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Scott

With a little bumper for a mouth, it’d look like Gir from Invader Zim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzfOk0Dsba0

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
1 year ago

Take. My. Money.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
1 year ago

Is this the car featured in this week’s episode of Mrs. Davis on Peacock™? It looks a lot like it.

Fjord
Fjord
1 year ago

I’d love to see options like this. If anyone thinks this car is being marketed at people with long high-speed freeway commutes I think they’re getting it wrong. I’ve had a 12hp Citroen 2CV for several years, and while it can hit 55 mph (downhill), I wouldn’t take it on a busy high-speed freeway. But, it can manage freeways in the city when necessary, which is great for when you have to go over a bridge or something.

I look at these as a really safe and comfortable e-bike. Something like this would do anything an e-bike would do while keeping you safer and warmer/drier, for 2-3x the price of an e-bike, while taking up half a parking spot. Sign me up.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
1 year ago

It’s a neat idea and all but it looks like it belongs on one of those coin operated toddler rides in Chuck E Cheese or a cartoon character themed amusement park attraction.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
1 year ago

As a condo dweller with no way to charge a conventional EV, I’m intrigued by the removable battery packs. I can’t do the math, however, on how far this car could go on a pair of manageable weight (let’s say no more than 25 lbs each) battery packs.

Can 50 lbs of batteries power this thing 50 miles at speeds up to 50mph? if so, then I’m in.

Toecutter
Toecutter
1 year ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

There are batteries you can buy off the shelf that are at 280 Wh/kg. That is just for the cells. If you had a 50 lb battery with 5 lbs of casing and assorted electronics, you could fit roughly 5.7 kWh of cells in that size battery.

In a car of low mass and good aerodynamics, 50 miles range at 50 mph is very possible on a 6 kWh pack. An Aptera, weighing 1,900 lbs, can do 50 mph using less than 70 Wh/mile. In this brick-like box of a city-pod thing, if we assume its aerodynamic drag is triple that of the Aptera(that guess may end up being very optimistic, as the Aptera has a Cd value of 0.13), while weighing significantly less than an Aptera(more than 1,000 lbs less than an Aptera), it could easily require 2x or more the power the Aptera does to maintain that 50 mph speed, cutting the range to 35-40 miles at 50 mph. That’s assuming its tires are also of rolling resistance similarly low to those of the Aptera. An Aptera, with that size battery, would be getting close to double that range at 70-80 miles on that hypothetical 50 lb pack, assuming it retained its stock weight with that small pack. Of course, if the Aptera lost hundreds of pounds, it would have a massive impact on its efficiency.

The nominal shape chosen for this city vehicle is not the shape you want if cheap range is the goal. There is an image in this article showing this cube-ish shaped LUVLY, next to two concepts based on it. The concept that appears to be a three-wheeler might consume half as much energy if its aerodynamics are decent enough, and THAT is what one should really be after if the goal is to get good range on a small battery.

I built a three-wheeled vehicle that only needs around 7-10 Wh/mile to maintain 30-35 mph. It gets a 150-200 mile range at 30-35 mph with a 1.5 kWh battery pack. But it only seats one occupant: the operator. It’s 91 lbs and has a CdA value about 1/4 that of the average new car, and roughly 1/3 of the propulsion is provided by pedaling when it achieves those energy consumption figures.

Last edited 1 year ago by Toecutter
Cayde-6
Cayde-6
1 year ago

Sorry, but I have to argue with the concept of it being “highway-worthy” at 55 mph top speed.

Hasn’t it been pretty conclusively proven that traveling slower than the speed limit on freeways is more dangerous than traveling the same amount faster? Obviously this is not an endorsement of speeding, but at least in my personal experience, every Code Brown I’ve had on a freeway has been from sudden brake lights, or when the “slow” lane of one freeway merges with the “fast” lane of another and suddenly people have to drop 20+ mph because someone is doing 55 in a nominally-65 where the speed of traffic is 75+

Petter hjalmarsson
Petter hjalmarsson
1 year ago
Reply to  Cayde-6

Not knowing where from you are but being from Sweden I can say that I feel that the luvly could work here on highways. First I think it is supposed to be used close to cities and our highways go down in speed the closer to the centre you are. 70km/h or 44mph is the speed on the signs trough Gothenburg on the main road E20/E6. If there is problems there are active signs the tell you that there is ques and active signs that lower the speed limit even more.

It is also quite hard to get a drivers license here and much of the training is focused on safety. This makes Sweden one of the safest places in the world to drive.

Yes accidents happens here too but I am frequently driving my -66 2CV on the highway if I want somewhere quickly and dont have the time for the scenic road.

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
1 year ago
Reply to  Cayde-6

If I stay in the city proper here the expressway has a speed limit of either 45 or 55…

Motorhead Mike
Motorhead Mike
1 year ago

Great idea, I hope it works. With the CKD assembly, if things were structured the right way, it would probably be seen by the NHTSA in to the same ‘kit-car’ category that the Caterham 7 falls in to. Assemble them in one place, have a dealership nearby that handles sales, repair, supply additional batteries (at a cost), and possibly rent a limited number of ICE vehicles for when owners need them. Again, I’d love to see it work.

The Smart has been referenced, and I think the real problem with those was that they weren’t that great as as far as milage was concerned, and under the skin it was still a Mercedes when it came to maintenance and repairs. When they were new, I was living in Chicago, and knew a number of people who would have brought one except, except, except.

Personally, I still want a Nobe 100, but is twice the speed and range really worth four times the cost.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
1 year ago

Steve Urkel approves…”did I do that?” Had to comment since it looks sorta like Isetta

Gen-O Bernardo
Gen-O Bernardo
1 year ago

love it! if they had a 200km range model (I live in frozen northwest NY) definitely would buy.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
1 year ago

New proposition to get a ton of cheap EV’s on the road for people to own as their 2nd car:
Every new car over $100,000 sold must be paired with an EV that has at least 2 seats and 100 km range. Of course the rich car buyers will immediately trade these to dealerships or give to their nieces, flooding the market with inexpensive cars for people to daily drive and still afford their SUV for everything else.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
1 year ago
Reply to  Ecsta C3PO

Or it could act like a shuttlecraft to get you from the door of your enormous SUV to the ground.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

Seems like a reborn Think from Nextdoor in Norway. Great idea. (The Think was better looking INMHO). I read somewhere that there is an ex McLaren engineer behind this project. That might explain some of the materials science.

Also, I think the bulkhead might be to allow you to stack your possessions in the trunk higher and keep them secured. I’m not sure why they just didn’t put something like a wire dog barrier that you could see through. Maybe it has a structural role to play?

Beater_civic
Beater_civic
1 year ago

The phone holder thing is absolutely brilliant. I would love to combine that with an absolutely minimal traditional dash.

They’d better be darn sure the batteries don’t explode though, if they intend for you to recharge them inside. Also, my goodness, it looks like a kid whose parents dress him for school. To me that’s a way bigger turn off than cheapness.

Scott
Scott
1 year ago
Reply to  Beater_civic

Oh! :-O How it looks is part of its appeal!

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 year ago

Dear cars, please don’t be modular: It creaks and rattles when you drive.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

If you do like most people should with Ikea furniture and re-tighten all the fasteners every year, maybe it won’t be so bad?

Acrimonious Mofo
Acrimonious Mofo
1 year ago

So IKEA is going to start selling cars now?

Scott
Scott
1 year ago

I’m totally up for that, as a option. 🙂

Clark B
Clark B
1 year ago

I like the idea, ever since Torch got his Changli I’ve started to think about how most of my driving could be done by something a bit more capable than a Changli. Something that could do 55mph and maybe 50-75 miles on a charge. In theory, as a two (well three car if you count my vintage Beetle, but it’s not a daily) car household, we could swing it. But I couldn’t justify it, my fianceé and I do our own thing enough to where we each need a highway-capable vehicle at the same time on the same day to go different places. I work from home which would help, but logistically it would still be a pain in the ass.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
1 year ago

Hell yeah – I would totally want the mini box-truck version that they show on the assembly diagram. It would be just fine for 80% of my actual driving needs around town. Currently, that’s covered by my FIAT 500e with >80 miles of range, but I could get by with 60 (it’s ackshually 62.14 miles) with no problem.

Max Headbolts
Max Headbolts
1 year ago

I WANT this to be a viable option, but here in the Midwestern urban sprawl it just won’t work. 90% of my adult life has involved work that required accessing a freeway for the majority of my commute, which means sustained 80MPH or being run down by SUVs and Pickup trucks.

When I’m not driving to work I’m hauling my two kids around, none of these are large enough for that, and as a single father it’s non-negotiable.

I get that we WANT everyone to have a cheap “Green” basic transportation as the counter to our current CANYNERO culture, but this ain’t it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Max Headbolts
Hoonicus
Hoonicus
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Headbolts

Spot on. Whenever I’m out on the road, I’m surrounded by Canyoneros driven by Krustys. A year and a half ago, I was forced into the worst car market of my life by a teenager running a red light, totaling 3 vehicles. I had just replaced the radiator the day before, completing the restoration on a beetle turbo S. I made out ok since there was a new acura between us that had inexplicably driven into me. Double green arrows, big interchange, use to inattentive drivers veering into the outside lane at the apex, but the acura came at me immediately after 1st gear, i moved completely out of my lane, but shes still coming,I’m cursing, then BANG, my beetle was shot off of the acura 15 ft. like a crow key ball. We were both in 6sec. cars, had she stayed in her lane and gunned it, we both would have made it across. After finding the kids actual insurance co, he gave cancelled cards at the scene, I got a Hyundai rental for a couple weeks. Was impressed by the mileage, but that’s about it. Ended up with 2010 C300 4matic sport with less then 45k miles. The guy my age, selling it, had just convinced his 94 year old mother to stop driving. I put on new tires and brakes, More than twice the car for less than half the price of the cheapest Hyundai. I’m safe and happy.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

> a crow key ball

Incredible

notoriousDUG
notoriousDUG
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Headbolts

It’s almost like what we really need to do is rethink the way we design the spaces we live and work in…

Black Peter
Black Peter
1 year ago

I remember there were several of these by several manufacturers, being sold in Austin around 2005, even a little utility truck. At the time I was commuting via surface roads about 14 miles a day. So even though these were lead acid tech the range and the price was very attractive. I lived in an area of Austin that while not exactly walkable, an EV that could manage 35 and had 30 miles of range would have made the perfect vehicle. I think the range was $6k to 10K depending on configuration and options, I was seriously looking at what was basically an EV Fiat Jolly, with barely a roof and “seats” that were, umm legal I guess? As this was around the time the Smart was gaining traction, I really thought it was how EVs were going to gain ground, and by extension the City Car model, even the Tesla Roadster seemed to bring size and simplicity to the table along with performance. How did it all go so wrong?

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
1 year ago

White walls on stealies!!! Sold!

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
1 year ago

It’s super cute! I’d want one in green that I could call Kermit. The battery swap is great, especially for folks like me that have an apartment and no close by access for home charging.

Does that mean you can also just take the battery out when you park it for the night? Would make it unstealable (unless they pick it up and put it in a pick up and drive away).

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Soso Tsundere

Or! What if the thief is carrying a broad array of batteries to support their criminal endeavors?

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago

I’d buy and unironically drive one.

Everyone else is too busy preening and peacocking for the Jones’ to humble themselves with something rational, however.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
1 year ago

In fail to see why anyone would buy one of these when a used Chevy Volt can be bought for the same or less and is actually a ” Real” car.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 year ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

I think the most obvious reason is the battery charge capability (taking the batteries inside to charge). This vehicle would be viable to an apartment dweller, where a traditional EV is not. Added perk? I bet you could fit two in one apartment complex parking lot, making a two vehicle household more viable in many locations.

But, the smart car never really took off. I’m not confident this would do any better in the US.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
1 year ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

Yeah. These would not do well in the US as similar city cars have been launched and failed here. The speed limitations doubly limits this to a city car whereas the Bolt- which is still a comparatively small car- can easily do freeway speeds.

At least where I live the sheer number of charging stations is so high that not having access to a charger is becoming less and less of an issue. There are at least 25 of them at the local grocery store meaning many just go there and get food, charge the cars and go home

Vicente Perez
Vicente Perez
1 year ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

Plus I am also afraid of the Tata Nano effect. People don’t want to be seen driving a low cost car. We seem more comfortable driving a dilapidated used car, unfortunately.

Maybe if they can sell it to fleets…

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago

If you can completely assemble and reassemble it with an Allen wrench, they can take my money.

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