Swedish Firm Manufacturing Flat-Pack EVs Inspired by IKEA

October 13, 2023 12:23:40

A Stockholm-based electric vehicle startup has begun manufacturing a mini-EV inspired by IKEA’s iconic flatpack design. Fellow Swedish company and EV startup Luvly took inspiration from IKEA’s flat-pack design and developed a small electric car that can be delivered in a flat-pack form. Dubbed the Luvly-O, the mini-electric car is reportedly so light and small that it can cut shipping-related carbon emissions by a significant margin.

The Luvly-O is the first-ever electric car to feature flat-pack delivery, and Luvly is hoping its super-lightweight frame and changeable batteries will make the mini-EV a much more sustainable transport option compared to other vehicles. Luvly cofounder and CEO Håkan Lutz says the mini electric car has an extremely light weight of just under 992 pounds (450 kilograms), less than 25% of the weight of the average modern car.

The mini-EV has a single-charge range of 62 miles (100 kilometers) and a 55-mile-per-hour top speed, making it suitable for daily commutes in most American urban areas where people travel an average of 37 miles per day. The mini-EV runs on two rechargeable and swappable 16-kilogram batteries that can be exchanged with a charged set to ensure the vehicle is consistently powered.

Similar small and lightweight electric cars have been a major hit in China, currently the world’s largest EV market, where companies such as Wuling and BYD have sold millions of electric cars. However, Lutz says the Luvly-O cannot be fully assembled by consumers, meaning you likely won’t be able to assemble your brand new Luvly-O in your garage.

Lutz says the vehicles will have to be assembled in a licensed vehicle plant before being shipped to consumers. He notes that the company is trying to adopt features such as nice design, sufficient quality and affordability, which have become synonymous with IKEA. Like the mini-electric cars making waves in China, the Luvly-O is a microcar, or “light urban vehicle” designed to navigate city streets with ease and efficiency.

Unfortunately, microcars are notorious for being unsafe because of their light frames, limited crumple zones and low weight, which increase the likelihood of their drivers suffering severe injuries. Lutz says lightweight vehicles such as the Luvly-O will have to prove to customers that they are safe before they can compete with regular vehicles.

Luvly looked to Formula One cars, which use light but strong materials, to develop a “sandwich structure” for the Luvly-O. The structure features an aluminum layer padded by lightweight plastic foam on both sides. The aluminum gives the frame strength and rigidity while the padding can absorb shock and protect the drive in case of an accident. Luvly still hasn’t conducted physical crash tests and is currently running computer simulations to determine the sandwich structure’s safety.

The EV industry is maturing and showing signs of segmentation, with entities such as Luvly looking to corner the microcar segment while the bigger companies, such as NIO Inc. (NYSE: NIO), are battling to dominate the luxury EV market.

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