As the birth place of the industrial revolution Manchester is well-placed to take a lead with the EV revolution. Back in the 1840s Manchester based scientist Robert Angus Smith pioneered research into climate change and he'd no doubt approve of the latest innovation to come out of the City, an all-electric city car which will cost less than £10,000 and have a range of around 100 miles. As a proud Northerner I'll have my name down for the first test drive!
The BeeAnywhere is the creation of a new manufacturer called MeV, formed by a former European Space Agency engineer and a kit car maker from Bolton. The two-seater is designed from the ground up as an electric car rather than being converted from a petrol or diesel. It is said to use advanced materials developed for motorsport to ensure it is lightweight and easy to build.
The BeeAnywhere is a pure northerner, as it is also being developed with experts from the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering at the University of Bolton and with advanced composites from the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre.
The lightweight alloy and carbon fibre chassis design with a plastic body bolted on top allows the vehicles to be assembled from fewer parts, which reduces production and component costs and should make the BeeAnywhere easy to service and repair.
MeV is investigating the use of batteries which can be easily swapped over when they are running out of charge.
As it is designed for urban use, the range is not expected to be more than 100 miles, which is actually more than the rival Smart EQ and Citroen’s Ami. However, MeV says it is investigating the use of batteries which can be easily swapped over when they are running out of charge. This means the powerpacks can just be changed over in a few minutes rather than needing to be charged in the car. Although this might not be practical for all private motorists, it could be key if the BeeAnywhere is used by car sharing and car club fleets.
This battery-swapping idea was seen as the answer to electric car range issues a decade ago, and Tesla originally planned a network of swap shops for the Model S. However, as battery tech improved car makers chose rapid charger networks instead. But modern big capacity batteries and the tech needed to get power into them quickly is expensive.
MeV’s aim is to make the BeeAnywhere costs the same as an eight-year-old used hatchback, rather than competing on price with new vehicle. Dr Anthony Keating, MeV’s CEO explained: “Emissions free transport should not be limited to those who can afford to pay a premium. The BeeAnywhere makes electric vehicles affordable, stimulating mass adoption and offers the potential to displace millions of older polluting vehicles.”