Japanese start up FOMM plans to manufacture a compact EV for Southeast Asia and Europe. No right thinking American would give up his gargantuan pickemup for one of these, but in places where basic transportation is the greatest need, the diminutive FOMM electric car could be just what the doctor ordered for lots of people.
FOMM says the car will go into production in Thailand this year, where it will be sold in partnership with Encom, a subsidiary of Thailand’s Provincial Electricity Authority. The company expects to source three quarters of the parts for the car from Thai suppliers, which will keep the supply chain short and promote an efficient assembly process.
The four-seater has a range of 160 kilometers and can be charged from a conventional household electrical outlet. One interesting feature involves the use of in-wheel electric motors, leaving more room for passengers and cargo. Because the as yet unnamed car has such compact dimensions, it is intended to appeal to people who live in congested areas who want a small car with nimble handling. The name of the car will be revealed this week at the Bangkok international auto show.
The FOMM car has one unique feature not seen in a production car since the original Volkswagen Beetle — it floats. Thailand experiences significant flooding every year, so that’s an important plus. And as global warming leads to rising oceans and more powerful storms, floating cars could become highly prized. A Tesla Model 3 may embarrass one of these cars at the drag strip but can it float? Ah hah! Thought not.
FOMM, which was formed in 2013 in the city of Kawasaki near Tokyo, plans to begin European sales in 2020 according to a report in Nikkei Asian Review. No prices for the car have been announced. The company says its initial sales target is 10,000 units a year — a modest goal for a modest car with a (hopefully) modest price.