Czech startup makes retro-style electric car

MW Motors has developed a lightweight car with a 300 km range

A new electric car that was created in the Czech Republic is ready to be launched. The Luka EV is being built by MW Motors, a startup company located in Štěnovice, a town near Plzeň, West Bohemia. The car should be able to go 300 kilometers on a single charge.

The two-door two-seat coupe, despite its new technology, has a decidedly retro look and is inspired by the Tatra JK 2500, a Czechoslovak prototype from 1956. It is also reminiscent of other sports cars from the 1960s such as the Aston Martin DB4 or the Reliant Sabre.

The car is being marketed as having “style from the past, technology from the future.” The company motto is: “We challenge the norm.”

MW Motors emphasizes the Luka EV is not a concept, but a real car.

“Our team set out to make a stylish M1 class car. Engineers and researchers wanted to use lightweight and novel technologies to create a more efficient and smarter car. We have developed the first production car to use in-wheel hub motors. And what is more, MW Motors is ready to launch the car,” the company states on its website.

In-hub wheel motors are common on electric bikes and scooters, but the Luka EV is the only current car to use the technology.

The concept, though, was used by Ferdinand Porsche at the start of the 20th century. The Lohner Porsche, with one wheel motor in each of the front wheels, was shown at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. After that, some 300 Lohner Porsches were sold. Gasoline combustion cars soon proved to be more powerful and pushed electric cars from the market.

In the Luka EV, each in-wheel hub motor has 12.5 kW of power for a total output of 50 kW, or 66 horsepower. The motors are powered by 21.9 kWh battery packs. Charging the battery takes nine hours from a domestic single phase 220 VAC socket or two hours with a three-phase rapid charger.

An advantage is that the electric motors do not occupy the space in the car, leaving more room for cargo. They also help to create a lower center of gravity. This type of motor has also been avoided in the past because their placement makes them easy to damage.

This two-seater coupe is very light, weighing only 815 kg. It measures 4050 mm in length, 1620 mm wide and 1220 mm in height.

“Luka EV is an entirely unique project. The combination of its light weight and battery pack capacity enables you to drive for less and further. We aimed at efficiency and the end result is an ultralight, all-electric, highway certified passenger car,” MW Motors states.

Acceleration from zero to 100 km / h takes 9.6 seconds, the top speed is 146 km / h. The interior will have standard leather upholstery. Air conditioning, power windows, infotainment and navigation will be standard.

The 300 km range is just about enough to go from Prague to Vienna, the manufacturer states.

The car is made from fiberglass on an aluminum chassis. The performance figure is approximate and have yet to be certified by a lab. Crash testing has also not taken place.

The MRK I and II prototypes were hand built as open source projects on Hackaday, a project social network.

The final production MRK III follows the previous cars closely but the details are closed source. The price is expected to start at €30,000.

Details on how many cars will be made and when they will be delivered are unclear.

MW stands for Marcus Ward, the founder, head designer, and lead mechanic for MW Motors.

MW Motors is no the only Czech company working on electric cars. Škoda Auto, the country's largest exporter, has promised a range of electric cars that will be launched by 2025. The first, the Citigo-e, should be available at the end of 2019 and also have a 300 km range.

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