At the StreetScooter booth, Mrs. Merkel was welcomed by Arndt Kirchhoff, CEO of KIRCHHOFF Automotive, one of the major partner companies of the StreetScooter network.
“As shareholders, we are proud to present a roadworthy vehicle after only 15 months of development time,” Kirchhoff said.
Professor Achim Kampker of RWTH Aachen University and CEO of StreetScooter GmbH, provided a firsthand explanation of the vehicle and its philosophy.
“The most remarkable aspect of StreetScooter is that it represents a radical cost innovation,” he said. “Our objective is to offer it for 5.000 Euros, excluding the battery, which will be offered in a leasing contract that provides guaranteed mobility.”
In other words, the driver will pay a monthly fee for the battery pack and in the case of a defect, it can be exchanged free of charge.
Mrs. Merkel was particularly interested in hearing about StreetScooter’s innovative solution for heating and air conditioning.
“For StreetScooter, we are using a heat pump which has an energy consumption of only 20% of a conventional system,” explained Kampker. Conventional air conditioning and heating is known to have negative effects on the autonomy of electric vehicles currently on the road.
With a smart phone based plug-in solution, StreetScooter also utilizes the latest in communication technology for infotainment, which resulted in a hilarious moment as Mrs. Merkel tried to access the vehicle’s battery status on the integrated touch pad – instead of the battery gauge, she selected the popular smart phone game “Angry Birds”. “If the driver should feel bored, he can also have fun with a game,” Kampker explained with a smile.
Mrs. Merkel seemed very impressed by the progress of the project, which is also a contribution to Germany’s objective to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.
“As we can see, within only two years, with the many new components already in place, something completely new has been achieved,” Mrs. Merkel said.
StreetScooter aims to make electric vehicles accessible to mass consumers. With a price tag of only 5,000 Euros, it’s hoped it will be an economic alternative for commuters in urban areas.
The startup company claims not to be a competition to incumbent auto manufacturers (OEMs). Kampker and his partners hope to provide a stimulus to accelerate technological progress and market adoption for electric vehicles in Germany, an economy in which the auto industry is of particular importance.
For more about StreetScooter’s approach to product development, visit the PLM Resource Center