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TUM develops an Electric Car, the aCar, custom-built for the African continent

by Felix Omondi

The Technical University Munich (TUM) feels elated for presenting the motherland with its first custom-build electric car, the aCar. The developers claim this electric car is unlike any other as far as design specifications meeting the stamina and duty-hardy the continent demands of a vehicle.

From the outlook, you will be forgiven for thinking the aCar is just another over-glorified golf cart. Functionally, it is actually a two passenger pickup with four-wheel drive and running on a 20kWh battery.aCar

TUM says the aCar is intended for the rural residents in remote areas with poor roads network. Professor Markus Lienkamp, the head of the TUM Chair of Automotive Technology says, the aCar’s 20 kWh battery gives the vehicle a 80 kilometers coverage on a single full charge.

aCar is fitted with a solar panel on its roof to recharge the battery during the day. In addition to that, users also have the option of connecting to the wall power outlet, with which the battery fully recharges in 7 hours.aCar

TUM says the vehicle was primarily designed to transport passengers and cargo; it has a load capacity of one ton. The aCar is also modular, meaning it can be transformed from a cargo bed to sit passengers in the same area. It can also be turned into a mobile clinic or a water treatment station.

Where the aCar fails to impress

Given TUM designed this electric vehicle for the Africa rural population; you would assume the car would be within the price range of that market. At $1,200, the aCar is automatically out of range for the majority of people living in rural Africa.

It takes what; 7 hours to fully recharge, and on that, it covers just 80Km (4.97 miles)? Hardly, a vehicle that can be said to meet the demands of a typical farm in Africa, where roads network and ground topography puts a heavy toll on a car.

The designers of this electric vehicle seem to have spent much time on the golf course. It has no windows, no doors, and it is not that high above the road surface; will likely get stuck even on a speed bump in urban areas.

That said, the aCar seems like an upgraded golf cart; built for pulling heavy luggage and many passengers around the golf course. Unless of course, it is a concept car to undergo further development, but as it is it fails to impress. To fit Africa, it will have to really understand what makes the makes up an Africa-custom-made car before purporting to be one.

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