by Jerry ElengicalJan 06, 2022
The future is electric: a narrative that has been pushed in automotive design for years in the wake of damning evidence on the role played by current modes of transport, largely run on fossil fuel, accelerating the global climate crisis. While considerable strides have been made in electric mobility, both private and public, their utility and availability remain relatively limited. Presently, electric vehicles primarily rely on specialised charging points or stations for ‘refuelling’. Although such facilities are becoming more common globally, their accessibility in more remote areas remains one of the pressing hurdles stalling the shift towards complete electrification of the transport sector.
Founded in 2020, Humble Motors is a California-based tech and automotive design company that sought to devise a viable, grid-independent alternative to the conventional, limited range electric vehicles within the market. The first such automobile concept they are currently engaged in developing is the Humble One, a long-range solar-powered SUV. "The design of the Humble One is centered around one word - efficiency. We are engineering it to be as lightweight and aerodynamic as possible to maximise its efficiency potential," says Humble in a statement to STIR.
Measuring 198 inches in length, it is intended to be roughly the same size as Tesla's Model X, touted as its primary competitor as per the design team. Interestingly the team estimates that the SUV will only weigh 4,000 pounds - a full 1,000 pounds less than the Model X and 2,500 lbs lighter than Tesla's cutting-edge Cybertruck. The vehicle's calculated peak power output is approximately 1,020 HP, with a range of 500 miles, a suggested top speed of 155mph, and a drag coefficient of 0.25, which will theoretically permit it to accelerate 0-60 mph within just 4.9 seconds. "For context, the lowest drag coefficient production SUV to date is the Audi E-Tron with a coefficient of .28," remarks Humble, placing the solar powered SUV in top tier if the calculations translate as they are into a prototype.
Regarding its unique design features, Humble's team notes, "The main talking point around the Humble One is our solar-centric approach," signifying how solar energy and equipment harnessing it has been central to the car’s design process. Aside from being fitted with over 80 square feet of automotive-integrated photovoltaics, the Humble One will also be equipped with peer-to-peer charging capabilities, fold-out solar array 'wings', a portable solar tonneau, electricity-generating sidelites, and regenerative braking. The design team adds, "Our hypothesis is that the Humble One's range could be increased by 10-60 miles per day (depending on where it is driven) as a result of the technological innovations we hope to incorporate”.
All these implements will come packaged in a stylised exterior that incorporates a curved, sloping roofline, air scoops, traditional wing mirrors, and a massive blacked-out, recessed grille that outlines the sporty aesthetic of its front end. At its rear, the Humble One has innovative boomerang-shaped taillights linked by three horizontal parallel ridges, a rear spoiler, and a lip splitter.
Currently, Humble Motors has completed the project definition phase - which consisted of six months’ worth of market research, product strategy development, specifications, innumerable hours of CGI work and digital renderings, as well as soliciting feedback from prospective customers and investors. Humble One is now available for online pre-orders and is expected to commence shipping in 2025, with production starting across its facilities soon.
(Text by Jerry Joe Elengical, intern at STIRworld.com)