ACM City One, the electric car with "unlimited" autonomy

ACM City One, the electric car with unlimited autonomy

ACM City One

Let's get straight to the point: the title's unlimited autonomy is not due to some sensational scientific discovery or new alien batteries. This is a marketing gimmick linked to the German ACM City One, which focuses on the use of interchangeable batteries. In a few minutes, thanks to the special housings on the roof, it is possible to replace the electric reserve as we would do with a common smartphone by attaching the auxiliary reserve. For a practical demonstration, watch the video at the bottom of this article.

About the origins of the car, this is a project carried out in seven years with the collaboration of the Merkel government. The goal was to tackle the main problems related to electric cars while also looking at new solutions for the future. According to Adaptive City Mobility, the creators of City One, in the near future the car will no longer be a "personal" object but will be mostly shared. Hence the creation of a vehicle that can be adapted to many different uses: above all, the transport of people or goods.

ACM itself announces "the best consumption in the category" with 10 kWh per 100 km and a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour. Since we are talking about a city vehicle, where the average speed reaches 40 km / h if it is okay, it should not be a big limitation. In fact, over 200,000 have already been booked and will be delivered during 2023, the year in which the final version will be available. In large part, the City Ones will be directed to Asian and Western markets, but above all to locations where there is high demand for this type of vehicle.

The price between 10,000 and 15,000 euros puts this model in direct competition with the classic heat engine vans that it wants to replace. It remains to be seen how practical is the solution of additional batteries on the roof or provided by other City Ones in the same fleet. The constant need to stay on the move, for professions such as courier or taxi driver, does not allow for many breaks for a possible recharge. The latter, in any case, will be available through a common wall socket without specific adapters or connectors.

Do you need more electricity on the go? There is the 10400 mah powerbank, with external display available on Amazon.

ACM City One Delivers Efficiency With Low Weight and Swappable Batteries

We do not have all the technical specifications for the City One yet, but we have asked them to the company. It seems to be at around 4 meters (157.4 inches), and its boxy design aims to make the best possible use of space. Despite being so small, it can carry five people and 400 liters (14.13 cubic feet) of cargo.

If drivers prefer to fold the rear seats and carry more stuff, the City One luggage compartment can be expanded to 1,450 l (51.21 cubic feet), according to its investors’ PDF, or 1,350 l (47.67 cubic feet) if the video below is correct. But roominess is hardly the most exciting aspect this vehicle has.

From the very beginning, ACM focused on mass to make the City One a very efficient EV. That turned it into a lightweight vehicle capable of achieving 8.5 kWh/100 km. That’s equivalent to 11.8 km/kWh (7.3 mi/kWh), the same energy efficiency that the Lightyear One currently presents for a fraction of the cost.

ACM wants it to be sold in Asia for around €10,000 ($11,758 at the current exchange rate) and in Europe for around €12,000 ($14,110). One of the company’s first investors, from Asia, would already have ordered 35,000 units of the urban EV.

At this price, buyers will get a vehicle with half of its batteries installed in the car and half placed in what looks like four suitcases. These are swappable batteries that you can insert in the car in only three minutes to have half of the range back. According to Paul Leibold, ACM’s CEO, the vehicle is so light that it can use a 20 kWh to 24 kWh battery pack.

Sadly, the company did not disclose the City One range, but the video below suggests 300 km (186 mi). Considering the 8.5 kWh/100 km announced by the company, the final battery pack should store 24 kWh: 300 km divided by 24 kWh represents 12.5 km/kWh. If the car had a 20 kWh battery pack, it would deliver 15 km/kWh, which would be mind-blowing, but far from the number ACM discloses.

The City One has four swappable “battery suitcases.” If they represent half of the energy of the battery pack, each will deliver 3 kWh. The German EV can store four spare ones in a roof rack. Another option would be to have battery stations such as the ones Smart-BMS (Shenzhen Zhili Energy Technology Co., Ltd.) offers in China. ACM did not mention anything similar to that model. The idea is to use them to avoid fast chargers, which can be an obstacle in EV adoption in emerging countries. With swappable batteries, they can be charged at home with no rush, which also helps them last longer.

The ACM City One will be presented to the public at the IAA Mobility 2021. A deal with Magna to develop its production version was announced on August 17, and ACM expects to deliver the first units of the car in 2023. Let’s hope to share more details about it with you before that happens.