By Marc Lachapelle
Concepts are all about visual impact and yet, the most important elements of Magna Steyr’s ‘mila ev’ concept are the bits you cannot see. In fact, the concept is simply a showcase for the fully-developed propulsion platform that lies beneath.
The platform was developed by Magna Steyr, the vehicle engineering and assembly division of Magna International, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, based in Aurora, Ontario. Magna claims that the platform can be used as a fully-integrated system to build an electric vehicle without any “modification, retrofitting or conversion of an already existing concept”. Better still, thanks to flexibility built into the platform, the end product can be powered by “natural gas, fuel cells or hybrid drive.”
The mila ev concept itself is about 4 metres long, on a 2.5-metre wheelbase. It is powered by a 67-horsepower electric motor fed by lithium-ion batteries developed by Magna Steyr. It can run up 150 kilometres on a 2.5-hour charge. There are solar cells on the roof to corral more electrons and side mirrors have been replaced by wind-cheating rear-view cameras.
There you have it. Go ahead. Create a snazzy new concept and Magna Steyr will fit it with the powertrain of your choosing – including full electric propulsion – and even build it for you with its proven Flex Plant technology. It’s that simple.
Hype and fiction, you think? At the Detroit show in January, Magna and Ford announced that they had struck up a ‘development partnership’ to launch a lithium-ion battery-powered electric vehicle in 2011. These guys are serious.