Swedish microcar maker wants your next car to ship flat-packed like Ikea

Luvly, a Sweidsh microcar company, has a plan for tackling the increasing hostility of urban life thanks to the car: make it smaller, electric, and shipped flat.
John Loeffler
A Luvly microcar on a European street
A Luvly microcar on a European street


It's no secret that urban centers have a car problem.

For most cities, there's simply not enough room in crowded, congested streets for more vehicles, but automakers continue to push ever larger vehicles off the lines and onto the road. Swedish microcar maker Luvly thinks it has a better way, and it starts by flattening a car.

Not an existing one, mind you, but according to a report in Electrek, the real innovation behind this up-and-coming EV is the way the car is manufactured. Unlike most other cars that are assembled whole, driven off a line and shipped across the world intact, the Luvly O is produced in parts that can be shipped flat, so that 20 cars' worth of parts can fit into a single standard shipping container.

Then, once the flat-shipped parts are delivered, the car can be reassembled at special distribution centers near the point of purchase, saving not just an enormous amount in special shipping costs, but also in environmental costs to manufacture the vehicle.

And, for a selling price of €10,000, or about $11,000, the Luvly O would be one of the — if not the — cheapest EV to hit the scene; especially if it can qualify for EV tax credits that could cut the cost substantially.

All of this can be done by making a car that is far more compact than the cars currently clogging up urban streets, which Luvly said is precisely the point.

The Luvly O is meant to be the perfect urban transport; energy efficient, fast enough to get across town (its max speed is 90k/m or about 55 mph, with a 100km range), and featuring a swappable electric battery that can be pulled out and carried with you so that you'll never have to worry about finding an EV charger when you can just take the battery with you and plug it into the wall at the office.

This is greatly helped by the O's weight, which is just under 400kg, with a length of just 2.7 meters.

Urban mobility that's safer for everyone

European cities, with downtowns or historic areas that can often be hundreds of years old, aren't exactly known for wide, navigable streets if you're a motorist. And the issue isn't much better for the pedestrian, who must remain vigilant more than a driver, since even if the driver of a 4,000lb Tesla Model 3 is 100% in the wrong if you're the one getting run over in the street, you might be more worried about things other than getting in an I-told-you-so.

Luvly CEO Håkan Lutz is banking on the younger generation who have been especially radicalized by climate change to lead the transition to smaller cars like Lubly's in cities. The company faces competition though from other major carmakers in Europe who are also pivoting towards smaller EVs, but Lutz hopes his company's innovative manufacturing process helps give Luvly an edge over its rivals.

For the price, Luvly stands more than a fair shot at carving a niche for itself, and if its safety claims hold up, an electric vehicle like the O seems like an ideal first car for a lot of European kids who, unlike their American counterparts, aren't as pathologically drawn to increasingly large cars that hog the road and spew out copious amounts of carbon emissions. Whether something like the O can take off in America is likely a longer-term project, but with the success of Tesla and other car makers moving quickly toward more EVs, not less, it's only a matter of time before something like the Luvly O starts making it way over to the United States — flat-packed, of course.

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