Visio.M: BMW and Daimler team up to build a better electric car

TUM MUTE front three-quarter viewElectric vehicles (EVs) are really shaking up the automotive industry, and not just because of their zero-emission propulsion. These cars are also setting new trends in the business of automobile manufacturing: a new EV is just as likely to come from a small startup as it is from an established multinational conglomerate. One EV, the Visio.M is even being developed by two rival car companies. The result could be a cheaper, more efficient EV.

BMW and Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) are like the German equivalent of Ford and Chevy. Their cars may be a bit fancier than an F-150 or Silverado, but the two German companies compete just as fiercely, matching each other model-for-model while trying to gain dominance in the luxury car market.

Given that rivalry, seems unlikely that BMW and Daimler would collaborate on an EV, since working alone could give each company a competitive advantage. In fact, both companies have been working on their own EV projects. BMW recently launched a fleet of ActiveE and MiniE test cars to get real-world data on electric powertrain usage. Daimler is currently leasing electric Smart Fortwos to customers.

Regardless, BMW and Daimler are taking their EV efforts in a new direction, with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) acting as the catalyst. TUM started the Visio.M project, which will hopefully create an electric car that is smaller and cheaper than the EVs currently on the market.

According to BMW, current EVs are too heavy because they are based on petrol-powered models. In contrast, the Visio.M will have a curb weight (without batteries) of 882 pounds; batteries will push that number over 1,000 lbs. Compare that to the two smallest EVs currently on sale. The Smart Fortwo weighs 2,150 lbs, and the Mitsubishi i weighs 2,600 lbs. The most popular EV, the Nissan Leaf, weighs 3,350 lbs.

A low curb weight is important, because it will limit the amount of energy needed to move the car. That means the Visio.M will be able to travel farther on each charge than other EVs.

The Visio.M will be powered by a 15 kW electric motor. Other than that, little is known about this potentially revolutionary EV. Since it hasn’t been built yet, the Visio.M could take on any body shape. However, if TUM and company stick with their cheap-and-cheerful design brief, it will probably have simple styling like TUM’s MUTE prototype (pictured). The Visio.M will be a functional car, not a fashion accessory.

Since the Visio.M is just a research project, no one is talking about on-sale dates. The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research is investing over $14 million into the project, so hopefully it will yield some useful new technology. A low-cost EV that isn’t a death trap could open zero-emission motoring to a larger segment of the population. Could this be the beginning of a social revolution for EVs?

Cars

Waymo will launch its commercial autonomous ridesharing service in December

Waymo will launch a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in December, according to a new report. As previously discussed by Waymo, the service will operate in specific areas around Phoenix, Arizona.
Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Cars

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Cars

Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.
Deals

These headlights have 4 color settings to help save lives under all conditions

Boslla headlights are an easy-to-install solution to achieve all-weather lighting for your vehicle. After a quick ten-minute install, these lights have up to four settings to get you through anything.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Cars

The DBX SUV will go where no Aston Martin has gone before

When it launches in 2019, the Aston Martin DBX will be the British automaker's first SUV. In the meantime, camouflaged DBX prototypes will undergo strenuous testing around the world.
Cars

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
DT Daily

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Cars

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.