New auto industry start-up Mindset, has announced plans to release a gasoline-electric hybrid next year. The hybrid 2+2-seater, called the Six50, contains a built-in Li-Ion battery, with a range of 100km (62 miles) between charges, rising to 800km (496 miles) when the two-cylinder gasoline motor also kicks in as a generator as required.
The car’s name hints at the target weight of 650kg (1430 lbs). However, according to recent reports, the prototype, made with a plastic body around an aluminum frame, tips the scales at a still fairly lightweight 800kg. According to Mindset, this helps the car to achieve fairly respectable levels of performance. The 70kw (95hp) motor should enable speeds of up to 140km/h (75mph) and acceleration from 0-100km/h in under six seconds.
The company was established by Marat Gunak, former head of design at Volkswagen (who is also gearing up with electric cars), with backing from Swiss billionaire Lorenzo Schmid. According to Gunak, most cars are currently “too big, too heavy, too expensive,” a trend that he hopes to help overturn with the Six50.
On first impressions, it seems that he might have succeeded in developing a small, lightweight car. However, many potential buyers will need to be persuaded that the price, currently estimated at €31,000 (about $47,900) - and likely to reach nearer €50,000 (about $77,200) by the time the Six50 hits the market - is not "too expensive." For an average buyer, that's pretty darn expensive.
written by Aaron Dalton, June 10, 2008
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