Silence SO4 Nanocar, image courtesy of Silence

The Silence SO4 Nanocar Is A Tiny Battery-Swappable EV

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Sometimes you need a large vehicle, such as when carrying a lot of passengers or cargo, but for personal transportation for one or two people, a full-sized EV is way more car than is needed. Full-sized EVs take up the same amount of space as gas-powered cars on the road and when parking, so even though they are an emissions-free transportation option, they still contribute to traffic congestion and parking woes. E-bikes and scooters are a great alternative, but they’re not so great in inclement weather, and their relatively low speed can be another limiting factor.

However, a new-ish breed of tiny EVs — microcars — could be an excellent substitute for efficient and clean urban transport, if and when they become widely available. Spain’s Silence Urban Ecomobility already builds electric motorcycles and battery packs, and now has its own version of this 4-wheeled micromobility solution, the SO4 Nanocar, which is a very compact 2-seater EV built at the company’s Barcelona factory.

The SO4 Nanocar is powered by a 14 kW (22 kW peak) electric motor and a pair of 5.6 kWh batteries, with a top speed of 85 km/h (52.8 mph) and a range of up to 149 km (92.5 miles). It’s not the quickest or fastest vehicle, and it’s not got a huge range, but for city driving (and city parking), the SO4 looks to be a right-sized EV that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Or at least not a whole arm and a whole leg. According to the Silence configurator, the L7e model of the SO4 will start at £15,995 (~$20,212), which isn’t crazy cheap, but also isn’t out of hand for a roadworthy EV.

One interesting feature of the SO4, which it also shares with the company’s electric motorcycles, is the removable batteries, which have wheels on the bottom and can be removed for charging indoors, for use as a portable power station, or swapped out for charged modules at a battery exchange station.

“Our batteries are sources of energy, not only for our vehicles, but for anything we set our minds to. From this idea, the Nomad is born. A portable inverter that you can take wherever you need and use together with your battery as a power source.”

Silence also offers the batteries on a “battery as a service” subscription basis, where the vehicle is purchased but the batteries are on a pay-as-you-go plan.

“Save up to 40% on the purchase of any Silence vehicle. Buy the vehicle and pay for the battery usage. In addition to saving, forget about maintenance and technological obsolescence. And enjoy the immediacy provided by our Battery Stations.”

According to the Silence website, the SO4 is still in a pre-reservation stage, so even if you love the idea, it’s not as simple as just ordering one and arranging for delivery, but it does appear possible to arrange for a test ride, as long as you’re in Europe or the UK. The company has already delivered several hundred of these vehicles last year to one client so far, OK Mobility, which has an agreement with Silence to purchase up to 5800 of them over the next 3 years. More details on the SO4 Nanocar are available on the company website.

Images courtesy of Silence.

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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