The Squad Solar City is not your typical electric vehicle. Firstly, it's charged by a single solar panel on its roof. Secondly, its makers, Squad Mobility, refer to it as a NEV, a neighborhood electric vehicle.
The name Squad comes from Solar Quadricycle, which neatly reflects the vehicle's specific design for the shared mobility market. Users need no driving license to drive the car, whose creators have just announced a list of new updates.
A solar shared mobility solution
Squad Mobility is releasing different models of their useful little car. While it's definitely not meant for the highway or for rough terrain, the NEV could play a big part in the continuing evolution of the urban mobility space.
The car was built with "concentric European style cities" in mind, which "are not particularly designed for cars." It has a footprint of only 2 m2, meaning that 4 Squads can be parked crosswise in one car parking space.
The car can reach top speeds of 45 km/h (28 mph) or 80 km/h (50 mph) depending on the model. A full roll cage with seat belts and 4-wheel stability makes it a safe ride.
However, it's the way that the Squad Solar City car charges that is most impressive. The charging function is literally stellar, seeing as the car is charged by the Sun — apologies.
The Squad Solar City car's first iteration, unveiled in November of last year, was built with functionality in mind. The concept was designed to prove that solar charging, despite its limitations was a great urban mobility solution.
Though companies like Dutch startup Light Year are making big strides, long-range solar-charged electric vehicles are likely still a way off from becoming mainstream. However, the combination of less energy demanding lightweight urban mobility vehicles and solar charging might just be a genius idea that kickstarts widespread usage in cities.
Squad Mobility design updates
Newly unveiled updates give users more options geared towards comfort. Removable door options give users the choice of soaking in those sweet energy-filled sunrays while driving.
Alternatively, if it's getting too hot, doors can be placed and a new air conditioning option can be used — you don't definitely don't get that option with your urban mobility scooters.
The icing on the cake though is the fact that the new update allows greater charging efficiency.
As Chris Klok, the Chief of Design who worked on the design update explains, "there are quite a few minor detail updates and some larger ones. The solar roof generates 20% more power, by using more powerful cells and increasing the solar cell area."
Back in November, Robert Hoevers, Squad Mobility CEO, described the benefits of the Squar car by saying, "our solar-electric Squad can charge up to 9.000 km per year in a sunny country with its own solar roof, making it completely emission-free for most users driving circa 30 km or 1 hour per day for 300 days a year in an urban environment."
If extra range is needed, the car can be charged directly from the grid with an ordinary plug or portable batteries that are included with the vehicle.
Will this idea take off? Squad Mobility envisions this new car as a big step in making a new form of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). We do wonder, with the pushback city councils such as that of Barcelona have given against smaller solutions, how this car will fare if it does make it big. In any case, only time will tell.
Pricing for the car starts at €5,750 ($6,403). What's more, the NEVs offer the advantage of not having to pay parking or city taxes, or any high maintenance costs.
Deliveries of the car will start in the last quarter of 2021 in the EU.