2010 mindset I
(from mindset) Neither a city car, nor an SUV or a sports car. mindset is as unique as it is self-explanatory: a light, powerful and efficient commuter for those day-to-day journeys. Its high heels (i.e. its large, slim wheels) take the aerodynamic coupé body up to eye level with the main traffic. Whether alone, or in company, with babies and bags, cats and dogs – you can get in and out easily and keep an eye on what’s going on whilst moving on swiftly and pleasantly. Its calm appearance projects power without aggression. That’s what mindset understand by a contemporary hybrid automobile.
A city car doesn’t need
to break any speed records. What is of greater day-to-day importance
is its utility. Streamlined bodywork does, however, increase the
vehicle’s efficiency and produces a faster, smoother and more
'Commuters’ were those luxurious wooden power boats with fully-enclosed cabins that became popular in the United States in the 1920s. For those who would rather live in the Hamptons than in downtown New York, these boats offered a quick, comfortable and stylish means of shuttling between riverbank home and Manhattan island. With their contemporary city-Commuter for everday driving, mindset are giving new currency to the Commuter concept.
The long, stretched-out
coupé shape of the mindset strongly evokes the Italian „Berlinetta“
design from the 1950s. Typical sportscar bodywork brings together
emotion and efficiency. It is the quintessence of an automobile, and
also exactly what mindset wants to come to represent.
An electric vehicle is
powered by an electric motor which is supplied in turn by batteries.
As long as cars have been around, there have been electric vehicles.
The famous Jamais Contente, for example – which in 1889 became the
first vehicle to break the 100 km/h barrier – was an electric
vehicle. You would have to wait another three years before you could
say the same thing about a vehicle with a combustion engine. No
wonder then, that by the year 1910 a good third of all the cars in
the United States were electric models. Even today, famed talk-show
host Jay Leno still enthusiastically drives a 1909 Baker Electric.
Electric motors are ideal power sources for automobiles. Their level of efficiency – three times better than a good Diesel motor – provides an optimal use of energy, and their long lifespan, combined with considerably-diminished maintenance costs, represents an additional payback on the initial investment. However, electric motors are most convincing when looked at from their power delivery characteristics. Thanks to the high, uninterrrupted torque they produce, the entire power band is always available to the driver. And this power is delivered smoothly and vibration-free – just like in an Inter City Express train. And since electric motors are locally emission-free, this can only be another factor deciding in their favour – and not just for the driver and passengers, but for the environment, too.
The CO2 output of an adult human is around 1500 grams a day. The mindset’s is zero – at least locally. But let’s be typically, pragmatically Swiss about this: electricity has, of course, to be generated and transported. That doesn’t just use up energy – it also produces emissions. Taken in total, the best-case output of the mindset – where electricity is generated by hydroelectric power – is of the order of one gram. If you take the UTCE figure – an average value for electricity produced across Europe from various sources – then the mindset’s output is only 55 grams. With the Range Extender hooked up, this value is still only 70 grams – a record low value for a vehicle of its size and power output. And when the solar collector is used, it’s as clear as day that the emissions drop to zero.
The mindset is, as regards performance, in a class of its own. It’s not just its individual characteristics, but rather the combination of them, that produces such a one-off. The 70kW motor sits well in the lightweight vehicle. The acceleration – 0-100 km (0-60 mph) in 7 seconds – already promises great driving pleasure, and even more impressive is the perception of performance, since the entire torque band is more-or-less continuously at your disposal. The mindset’s top speed – electronically limited to 140 km/h – is reached rapidly, and that this limit presents no drawback for everday use is witnessed by the fact that these days very few stretches of German Autobahn allow you to drive at a higher speed. The rest of Europe has long had limits in place and will soon be under electronic surveillance. Responsibly sporty – that’s mindest’s idea of the performance of the contemporary Commuter.
Small, narrow wheels may
have economic and technological advantages, but they also furnish
little in the way of ride quality. Large, wide wheels may be ideal
on racetracks and in the desert, but they leave much to be desired
on the open road.
The word ‚hybrid’ comes
originally from the Ancient Greek and means mixture or combination.
Typically, in a hybrid vehicle, a combustion engine is combined with
an electric motor. That does sound futuristic, but in 1899,
Ferdinand Porsche had already built a hybrid for Lohner that he
entered successfully in races.
The mindset has been
designed as a 2+2-seater. The front bench seat provides plenty of
room for both driver and front passenger. An additional, slender
benchseat can be installed in the rear. Or you can adjust and use
the available free space for loading needs, be it for kids, dogs or
sporting equipment. In either case, there’s enough room available
for passengers’ everyday luggage or storage requirements. The boot
can be accessed via the side-mounted hinged panels, which have been
laid out asymmetrically: on the driver’s side there’s a small panel
for bags or coats, on the front passenger’s side a larger one for
There are many possibilities for charging the mindset’s batteries. The easiest is simply to leave it plugged in to a wall socket for a couple of hours. If that isn’t possible, the optional Range Extender can be connected. Or you can simply park the mindset in the sun – charging will then take longer, but it’s completely free and, above all, good for the environment. Or you can just drive downhill, or even brake: with recovery technology, you can get up to 90% of the deceleration energy back.
Formula-1 guru John
Cooper, Lotus founder Colin Chapman and the designer of the Mini,
Sir Alec Issigonis all knew: when it comes to building racing
machines, lightweight construction is the deciding factor. Because
low weight means a faster, better, more efficient ride.
This tried-and-tested technology has finally reached the stage where it is ready for use in automotive construction. Rechargable lithium-ion batteries stand out by virtue of their extremely high energy output-to-weight ratio. And on top of that, Li-Ion batteries are free from deleterious effects like the ‚Memory Effect’ and sudden spontaneous loss of charge.
At the heart of mindset lies a special Li-Ion battery. Thanks to the latest cell-construction technologies and electronic diagnostic monitoring, their reliability over their service lifetime is guaranteed.
The mindset is targeting
European metropolitan areas, where it has the greatest potential to
work its charms.
mindset is noticing a
pleasantly high number of enquiries from prospective purchasers.
However, it is still too early to give an indication concerning
final purchase price and delivery date.
With the optional Range Extender, the mindset becomes a hybrid vehicle at the flick of a switch. Whether you keep the compact petrol engine permanently on board, stow it in the garage when not in use, or even just want to rent one for the weekend, installing and demounting the Range Extender in the boot is simplicity itself. It also has no appreciable effect on performance. As an electricity generator, it simply serves to recharge the batteries, and extends the driving range of the mindset by many hundreds of kilometers – and all with just one tankfull of petrol. Even though, in hybrid mode, the mindset can’t be driven entirely emission-free, through the Range Extender it still consumes only minimal amounts of energy and produces minimal emissions.
‚Recuperation’ is the term that mindset uses for ‚winning back’ energy (indeed, that’s the literal meaning of ‚recuperate’ in the original Latin – recuperare). For example, since 1952, the Swiss mountain railways have used this very principle. In electric vehicles, recuperation makes sense and adds to the fun. Instead of standard mechanical braking (whereby kinetic energy is converted into unusable heat) through recuperation the car can be decelerated or even brought to a complete halt, and the required braking energy can be simultaneously recovered and stored in the battery. So you get not only a reduced electricity consumption with an increased driving range, but also a whole new driving paradigm is being established! And even the ‚late brakers’ among you can drive with a clear conscience.
Simply plug into a wall socket – and wall sockets can be found practically everywhere – and within a matter of hours the battery will be fully-charged again – it couldn’t be easier. It also couldn’t be cheaper, since a dozen kilowatt-hours at the price of an espresso will deliver around 100 kilometers of driving. And it could hardly be environmentally friendlier: even if the power isn’t from hydroelectric sources, the overall eco-balance of the mindset stays firmly in the green. And that means considerably lower than the average automobile of today.
People are spending ever-more time in their cars, while, at the same time, the average driving speed sinks ever lower. Nowadays, in the big European cities, it’s somewhere around 30 km/h. So why buckle yourself into a racing seat, when you could be comfortably stretched out on the sofa – just like at home? With this image in mind we conceived the mindset’s bench seat. So it not only offers two people a lot of room, it also gives them the freedom to properly enjoy it. Whether the passangers want to be budged up together, or keep their distance, whether they want to get in and out on either the left- or the right-hand side, the bench seat affords every opportunity. Thanks to high-quality materials, the bench seat is not only decidedly inviting, but it can also, of course, be kitted out with accessories to suit your tastes and needs. Headrests, safety belts, and driver and passenger airbags are, naturally, included in the base specification.
The sun provides around
1000 watts of energy per square meter. With the advances in today’s
photovoltaic technology 16% of that energy – when the weather
conditions are right – can be converted into stored electricity in
the batteries. The mindset’s glass roof can be laminated with a
transparent skin of solar panels and thus be converted into a solar
power station. And that provides even more kilometers of driving
enjoyment daily. And after a few more days in the open air, the
batteries will have completely recharged themselves.
The spaceframe was first
developed around 1900 for use in aircraft construction, and was
later carried over into racing vehicles. By spaceframe we mean a
framework constructed either from steel tubing or profiles, and
which forms the main load-bearing structure of the car. The skin
used to envelop this framework can be extremely light, since it
itself has no load-bearing requirements. Modern racing and super
sportscars have a spaceframe made from aluminium or high-performance
composite materials. From a structural standpoint, the spaceframe
provides low body weight and an unsurpassed stiffness and
Although the mindset is
still in the development phase, we have some technical figures set
already as our goals.
All information is valid as of November 2008.
Mindset brings the running costs down. In electric mode, for the price of an espresso, it will deliver around 100 kilometers of driving. With the Range Extender in service, the running cost at a constant 120 km/h over a hundred kilometers is under 4 liters. And that’s before you take into account the power provided by the solar collector.
Zero emission vehicles are those that operate emission-free locally, i.e. without producing any environmentally-damaging by-products. In many cities – for example London and Milan – special exemptions are already in place for ZEVs, either so that they can freely travel into and out of congestion-charging zones, or that they are exempt from any prevailing Eco-taxes. Indeed, in many countries, the purchase and maintenance of ZEVs is subsidised by the government. The mindset is a ZEV when running under battery power – as betokened by the green light on its tailfin – a small reminder that the driver is someone forward-thinking.