Urban mobility should be safe, accessible and hassle-free. It should contribute to a liveable, free and open city life. This calls for a smart vehicle that makes life simple for everyone. This fall, we will present the world's first Solar City Car, optimized for shared mobility.
Creating something both simple and impactful is no easy task. In 2019, we started with a powerful vision: a solar city car for everyone. Above all, we wanted to simplify mobility for users, fleet owners and cities all over the world. The result: the SQUAD Solar City Car, available in 2022.
Simple to Share
What makes the SQUAD easy to share? It's all about access, energy, space and connectivity. The two-seater vehicle is easy to access and operate. It charges automatically in sunlight and includes swappable batteries. Its small size helps to quickly navigate the city and easily park anywhere. The robust design makes it safe and stable. Essential vehicle data is available 24/7 for fleet management, and mobile app connection.
Robert Hoevers, CEO of Squad Mobility: "Keeping a free-floating fleet charged is one of the main operational costs of an EV sharing fleet operator. The automatic, wireless and free solar charging is of course a wonderful solution. Also, cities love solar charging, as this is a sustainable energy source. It decreases the load on the local charging infrastructure and energy demand. Cities are looking for zero emission mobility solutions with a small space footprint. We have achieved both. A per capita energy consumption lower than public transport and a space footprint comparable to a bicycle. And all this, while offering the flexibility of personal transport and the comfort of a car." For further information see the IDTechEx report on Solar Vehicles 2021-2041 2nd Edition.
On top of a 100km range provided by the swappable batteries, automatic solar charging provides up to an extra 20km per day. As the average person in this LEV segment drives 12 km per day, this is enough on most days. Three SQUADS fit comfortably in one parking space. The aluminum tubular frame and roll cage guarantee safe rides. The tires act as bumpers to protect the bodywork. Sensors enable remote diagnosis, e.g., operating condition, charge levels, tire pressure, location, etc.
Durable & Affordable
SQUAD is designed to withstand the wear and tear of heavy use. Both interior and exterior are easy to clean, broken parts are easy to replace. Recycled materials are used where possible. The bill of materials and construction have been optimized, making the SQUAD simply affordable and guaranteeing low CAPEX and OPEX for sharing operators.
Swappable batteries and Battery Fleet Management System
Next to solar charging, the SQUAD features swappable and portable batteries. Batteries can be swapped when vehicles need a quick recharge. Battery State of Charge and State of Health, as well as many other parameters like maximum discharge rate, cell temperature and misuse indicators like water damage or excessive G-forces are monitored and are available to the operator. Squad will offer a smart charging & swapping station for reserve batteries to fleet operators. Other charging options include charging from a regular power socket and DC charging directly from locally installed solar panels.
Remote diagnostics, maintenance, control, cameras
Information is key, users want to know where the vehicles are and what the state of charge is. We offer additional information on the state of operation, tire pressures, cleanliness, damage, etc. Operators need all relevant information on the state of the fleet so they can plan maintenance as efficiently as possible. We will equip the Squads with cameras to check the state of the vehicles and their position in the public space, the usage by the customer and the cause of accidents. Customers tend to be much more careful when the vehicles are equipped with cameras. They can also ask the operator for help when necessary. Finally, cameras offer the possibility for remote control of the vehicle by the operator, for instance, when the vehicle is improperly parked or blocking an exit.
Chris Klok (Chief of Design), "Remote control means we take extra capabilities into account in the design, such as the application of remote actuation of the steering and the possibility to relay data from the CAN bus to the operator and back in a secure way. In the longer term, we envision the use of autonomous technology to control the fleet in the city, for example to move vehicles back to places with high demand or more sunshine for charging."
The SQUAD Solar City Car is available for pre-order on our website. Sharing operators are invited to get in contact with Squad Mobility for customized designs and offers.
About Squad Mobility
Squad Mobility is founded by Robert Hoevers and Chris Klok, two ex-Lightyear employees who share a vision of an affordable Solar Car for a large group of consumers. Together they have more than 40 years of experience in mobility, varying from scooters to motorcycles, FIA Formula E, Renault, Piaggio, Solar Cars and even flying cars. The Squad is a 45 km/h, 2-person Solar Car for daily (sub)urban mobility. The Squad (Solar Quad) is already available for pre-order in the EU. Retail price starts at around € 5750 (ex. VAT). The Squad can charge up to 20 km per day in the EU. The average City Car user in the EU drives around 12 km per day. Extra range can be charged via regular power sockets or indoors with the portable and swappable batteries.
The Squad will be homologated in the L6e category, light 4-wheeled vehicles. A more powerful 70 km/h L7 category version will also be offered in a later stage. The Solar Car offers space for two passengers sitting side by side, and a storage compartment in the back. It combines the practicality of a scooter and the ease of driving a City Car. A full roll cage with seat belts, automotive style crash structures front and rear and 4-wheel stability offer safety for all passengers. A Squad has a footprint of only 2 m2. Therefore, up to 4 Squads can be parked crosswise in one car parking space.
There are interesting cost and tax benefits in this segment. For example, there is no congestion charge, no road tax, no parking fees, low insurance fees and no car driving license needed in most markets. The Squad is specifically developed for sharing platforms. Shared mobility users need easy access, intuitive operation and a safe, stable ride. Cities are looking for the smallest space footprint and zero emissions. Sharing platform operators appreciate a low Capex and Opex, the automatic solar charging, swappable batteries and high durability, low maintenance, of the Squad. Subscription and/or lease models will be offered next year with a target lease price of around €100 per month.
Production will start in the last quarter of 2022 in the EU.
Source: Squad Mobility