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Yamaha goes four-wheeling with Motiv.e electric car

Yamaha screams for iStream, but will you and I?

The Japanese company has teamed up with a legendary race car designer to develop an electric car that’s even tinier than the Smart Fortwo, along with an efficient low-cost manufacturing process to go with it.

At just 8.8 feet long and 4.8 feet wide, the Motiv.e concept is narrower than it is tall, but it offers seating for two and all of the safety equipment necessary to make it street legal.

Key to this is a design that features a steel cell with crush zones and anti-intrusion bars surrounding the passenger compartment. The powertrain is also installed within structure, while recycled plastic composite body panels are attached to the outside to help create a stiff chassis while reducing overall complexity and weight.

This minimalist approach allows the Motiv.e to be powered by a compact, 8.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is exactly half the size of the one used in the electric version of the Smart Fortwo yet delivers up to 100 miles per charge compared to 76 miles for the Smart. A gasoline-powered version is also in the works.

The vehicle was designed to be manufactured through a proprietary process called iStream that was invented by Gordon Murray, the mastermind behind several world championship-winning Formula One cars, along with the 1994 McLaren F1, once the fastest production car in the world with a top speed of over 240 mph.
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