Uniti One electric car: details, specs and on-sale date

Priced from £15,100, the Uniti One electric car will be produced in Norfolk by the Swedish startup, beginning in 2020

Uniti One

The Uniti One – currently the cheapest electric car on sale, priced from £15,100 – will be built at the firm's development and engineering hub in Norwich when production starts next year, the company has confirmed.

Previously, the Swedish start-up had planned to open a pilot factory at the Silverstone Technology Park in Northamptonshire, creating 150 jobs within Uniti itself and more still in partner companies such as Danneka, Siemens, Unipart and KW Special Projects.

However, CEO Lewis Horne told DrivingElectric: “Through the process of planning, to put it bluntly, we got a better offer from Norfolk.” Around 30 people are working exclusively for Uniti at present, with further facilities in the UK and abroad being discussed.

Earlier this year, Uniti claimed that "tens of thousands" of people had used the One’s online configurator, with “more than a thousand” potential customers signing up for the car’s waiting list.

Horne declined to say how many orders have been placed so far, or what percentage had provided the 50% deposit required to join the firm’s Founders Club, membership of which gives buyers a host of benefits. However, he said sales so far were split evenly between Uniti’s two initial markets – the UK and Sweden – with slightly higher interest from British customers.

The first customer deliveries are expected to take place mid-way through 2020 at the latest. Meanwhile, Horne has confirmed that a “slightly larger”, five-seater vehicle is in the pipeline, although the timeline for that car has not been disclosed.

Uniti One performance, range and charging

The Uniti One is powered by a 67bhp electric motor, with peak torque of 85Nm. Acceleration from 0-31mph takes 4.1 seconds, with 0-62mph completed in 9.9 seconds. The top speed will be 75mph, just above the UK motorway speed limit.

Two battery sizes are offered: a 12kWh model delivering 93 miles of range, and a 24kWh variant returning up to 186 miles from a single charge. The former is priced from £15,100 – a figure that includes the UK government discount of £3,500 – while the latter costs an extra £3,000. Charging times for both are given in the table below.

Battery size 12kWh 24kWh
Wallbox charge 1hr 3mins 2hrs 6mins
50kW CCS charge 9mins 17mins

Both variants achieve an estimated efficiency of 7.75 miles/kWh – a figure Horne describes as “conservative” – making the One the most efficient electric car on sale: for comparison, our long-term Kia e-Niro test car peaked at 5.1 miles/kWh.

“The amount of energy on board doesn’t matter as much as what you can do with it," said Horne, before explaining that reducing rolling resistance, aerodynamic drag and (most importantly) weight holds the key to maximising range.

With a kerbweight of 600kg, the Unit One can afford to use a relatively small battery, which also helps to reduce the overall cost of the car. “For us, that’s how electric cars should be made,” Horne adds. “That’s one of the fundamental principles of the company.”

Uniti promises the One will be fun to drive, saying that "driver involvement has not been sacrificed in the pursuit of efficiency" and that the car "delivers the optimal balance of performance, enjoyment and real-world usability". A choice of two driving modes – City and Boost – allow the driver to prioritise efficiency and maximum range in the first instance, and sharper acceleration and handling in the second.

Measuring 3,222mm long by 1,790mm wide, the One has a turning circle of seven metres, making it agile and maneuverable in tight urban environments. Floor-mounted batteries ensure a low centre of gravity for better handling.

Standard safety equipment includes mandatory features such as a driver's airbag, anti-lock brakes, stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring, while what Uniti calls an 'Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)' is available as an option, incorporating collision-avoidance technology, lane-departure warning and a speed-limit indicator.

Three exterior colours are being offered for the One: bright metallic Scandium, dark Graphite and warm Titanium, each with a satin finish. Aero discs matching the body colour cover the car's wheels in order to improve efficiency.

Orders placed with at least a 50% deposit before the end of November 2019 will grant access to Uniti’s 'Founders' Club', which rewards customers with perks such as free software upgrades and car enhancements for life.

The One comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, with five-year/60,000 mile guarantees on the battery and electric drivetrain, as well as a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and two years' of UK and Europe-wide breakdown cover.

Interior and infotainment

Inside, the One will accommodate up to three adults thanks to its 'one-plus-two' seating configuration. The driver sits centrally, and a wide-angle camera takes the place of rear-view mirror. Two passengers can sit behind the driver, and generous interior space is promised within a relatively small footprint due to the car's battery being located in its floor.

Uniti believes the One is ideally suited to being a school-run vehicle or an "urban micro-taxi". A panoramic roof is standard, and it can be adjusted to be transparent or fully opaque within seconds.

Light or dark seat upholstery can be specified, while the interior can be personalised with configurable mood lighting that accents the roof, dashboard and doors. Uniti has taken a "digital first" approach to the car's controls, with a minimum number of switches and controls.

Like the new, electric Volvo XC40, the car's infotainment system runs an Android OS, bringing integrated access to apps like Waze (for sat nav) and Spotify (for music) without needing to pair a smartphone. As mentioned above, the One will also be capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) software updates, in similar fashion to the current Tesla line-up.

A split-folding rear seat is standard, and Uniti says luggage capacity is 155 litres with three people on board. Longer packages can be fitted in either side of the driver's seat, while dropping down the rear bench boosts storage space to 760 litres.

Specifications

LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable mirrors, a rear-view camera, rear LED lights and a panoramic roof with integrated sun visor are standard on the Uniti One. Twin USB ports, three cup-holders, a heated windscreen, electric windows, ISOFIX child-seat mounts on both rear seats and adjustable mood lighting is included too.

Options include full LED headlights, a heated driver's seat, a collision-avoidance system and an enhanced six-speaker audio system with amplifier.

Production

The company has rejected the dealership model for selling the One: cars can be configured and ordered online at its website – uniti.earth – and updates or enhancements to the One will be carried out remotely using 'over-the-air' (OTA) updates. Servicing will be performed by a team of mobile technicians.

Uniti is keen to promote car-sharing – whether privately or in funded schemes – with the company intent on rethinking car production and transport from the ground up. For that reason, the One will come with a key card that can be programmed to allow as many people as you wish to use the car.

The company’s manufacturing process is arguably the most significant aspect of its current plans: it aims to be the first company to fully utilise ‘digital twinning’, which allows remote, localised production facilities anywhere in the world to make Uniti cars from the ground up, without the need to ship large parts – as is the traditional method.

Each Uniti model is also designed to maximise parts re-use for others in the range, in order to minimise the need for separate tooling and production, therefore reducing the company’s carbon footprint. It’s even hoped that the necessary crash tests can be carried out digitally, to save waste.