Electric motors have transformed the automotive industry. Today, anyone with a socket set can bolt together an electric car using components purchased over the internet. It’s a little like the early days of the car industry when every blacksmith and bicycle maker was suddenly building automobiles at night out in the barn.
MW Motors is a Czech company that almost no one has ever heard of. MW stands for Marcus Ward, the founder, head designer, and lead mechanic for the fledgling enterprise. Last week, the company posted a video on YouTube to announce the arrival of its first product, the Luka EV. Japopnik dug into this story and found an interview with Marcus Ward online from a few years back. Here’s how he describes his operation.
“There is a team of people involved with the Luka EV. In addition to myself, there are four guys who work at the IT department in my company, each of whom have donated their time to the project. Various other employees and friends have also contributed their time, ideas and expertise. We have now employed one full-time person and one contractor to work full-time on the project.”
Suffice to say, Elon Musk is not quaking in his boots at the prospect of a challenge from the Czech Republic. Very little is known about the Luca EV except this tidbit — it claims to be the world’s first production car that uses in-wheel electric motors. These are not big electric motors, mind you. Unlike the mighty Tesla P100D, which pins passengers back in their seats when the driver tromps on the go pedal, the Luka EV may properly be said to waft its way forward.
What’s so important about in-wheel motors? Packaging. Just as placing the battery for an electric car low in the chassis promotes innovative new ways to package the people and stuff inside, in-wheel motors will create even more opportunities for creative thinking.
The company claims the car weighs a mere 1800 pounds. With a grand total of 66 horespower on tap, it has a top speed of 90 miles per hour, a range of 180 miles, and tiptoes to 60 mph from a dead stop in a tick less than 10 seconds. The company cautions on its website that all these numbers are approximate. “Unofficial in-house testing. We will upgrade specifications once we have all details proven by a certified testing laboratory.” Before you snicker up your sleeve about the Luka EV and its modest performance, bear in mind that it is light years ahead of the original Volkswagen Beetle. Things turned out pretty good for VW, if you discount a scandal or two along the way.
The styling for the Luka EV is decidedly retro. Jalopnik says it resembles the late Reliant Scimitar, a car that never made it to North America. For those of us denied the pleasure of owning a Reliant, the closest equivalent may be the Triumph Sptifire GT6, a car that offered similar performance to the Luka EV.
Elon Musk could learn a thing or two from Marcus Ward when it comes to not making outrageous pronouncements. Ward is considerably more modest in his claims. “This means we will always improve everything all the time. We do not overpromise. We are aware of our size and our capabilities and we know we are a niche player.” Bravo, sir. The world could use a little less breast-beating and hype.