German rivals BMW and Daimler have joined forces with scientists at the Technical University Munich (TUM) to create an electric car that solves many of the problems with today’s electric cars. The joint research project “Visio.M” seeks to produce an electric car that moves past current electric cars, which are too heavy, too expensive and have raised mass-market safety concerns.

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German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, BMW, Daimler, electric cars, green car, green transportation, Technical University Munich, Visio.M

The research project has received $14 million from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The overall goal of the project is to explore how the price and safety of small, efficient electric vehicles can be brought to a level enabling them to achieve a significant share of the mass market. BMW claims that the current small electric vehicles offer only a minimum level of vehicle safety and therefore are not mass-marketable. Electric cars that were derived from gasoline-powered models are usually too heavy and require large and expensive batteries.

The electric concept car that the group invisions weighs only 800 pounds without the battery and is powered by an electric motor that only has 20 horsepower. The partners will use the the electric vehicle prototype MUTE developed by the TUM as their test carrier to explore innovations and new technologies for vehicle safety, propulsion, energy storage, and operational concepts for implementation under the framework requirements of large-scale production. Special attention has also been given to safety-related design issues. The goal is to create a very light electric car that is as safe as a conventional car with a combustion engine.