FROM DESIGNER TO MANUFACTURER – It was born two years ago from a blank sheet of paper and today, with an investment of about one and a half million euros and an injection of extra capital guaranteed by the disbursement of non-repayable contributions by the Ministry of Economic Development, it is almost ready to enter production. From a design house to a small car manufacturer, for UP Design, the step was short. The independent creative and entrepreneur Umberto Palermo, Sicilian by birth but Turin by adoption, is ready to compete with the market, and with his team he has thoroughly reviewed the very small Mole Urbanaelectric microcar that, compared to dimensions comparable to those of the first Smart ForTwo, offers a lot of space on board.
A VIRTUOUS LIFE CYCLE – “In reality – explains Palermo – it is so small Mole Urbana it was not. This, at least, has revealed to us the feedback from the public. So, after listening to our potential customers, we picked up the drawings again, shortened the uprights and made everything a little smaller, but without sacrificing the habitability, which hasn’t changed “. Now the Mole Urbana is as high as a Fiat Panda, before it exceeded it by about twenty centimeters. “Modifying it – continues Palermo – was not complicated, because the body is not obtained by molding, but by drawing, the same technique used to make the window frames in the house”. To make an Urban Mole it is necessary to recycle 9,534 aluminum cans: “The goal was reduce CO2 emissions at the root, which is impossible in the case of most of the traditional battery-powered cars, which usually keep the architecture of the model with internal combustion engine from which they derive practically unchanged ”. The Mole Urbana, on the other hand, was born electric. It sounds a bit like the Citroën Ami, but compared to the microcar on the transalpine tap is much more elegant and with attention to detail.
FOR PEOPLE AND GOODS – L’autonomy distance, depending on the package batterieswill vary between 60 and 200 km in the city. “The versatility of the platform has allowed us to design a wide range – underlines Palermo -: there will be versions for passenger transport, approved as both light and heavy quadricycles and speeds from 45 to 60 km / h, and versions for freight transport. Do not huge loads, small packages, of those you order on Amazon, for a maximum load capacity of 80 kg “.
THE NANOFACTORY IS ALREADY THERE – The idea is good and with the support of Dekra, a German company specializing in tests, inspections and certification in the automotive sector, the decisive step has come towards the production. “We expect a production capacity of 5-7,000 Mole Urbana within the next three years,” reveals Palermo. The first prototypes are already in circulation and at the end of the year there will be more or less fifty test cars already salable, while the lights of the new plant will turn on in 2023. “In times when there is much talk of Gigafactory we have decided to build a very small one. “Jokes Palermo. The production site it already exists: a disused factory in Orbassano, in the first belt of Turin: 8500 square meters where an assembly line will be set up (for now, the pilot production is in islands).
VIRTUAL REALITY PREVIEW – From 16 to 19 June the Mole Urbana it will be exhibited at the Milano Monza Motor Show not in its own final appearance, but still disguised. The reason why? Palermo explains: “We have bet on NFTs and the Metaverse and we will sell nine virtual Mole Urbana. While waiting for the car to go into production, the public will be able to discover it by wearing special VR headsets. It is a technology still in its infancy, but we believe in it, because if used well it can be useful in terms of marketing, but also of selling services. I like to say that we are the fourth to launch it to present a car, and that in front of us we have names like Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and McLaren ”. In virtual reality another creation by UP Design will be presented, the one-off Franca, a two-seater roadster with a fully internal combustion V8 engine. But that’s not all: “We are also in the pipeline – reveals Palermo – Caina, a super crossover, also a one-off “. In short, at UP Design, ideas are popping up like mushrooms. And now that there is the know-how, the space and the economic resources to make them happen, the mobility of the future has a new actor who can help drive change.
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