XP Vehicles, Inc. an electric powered automobile technology startup has combined proprietary aerospace engineering and novel power systems to make what it calls ''the best priced, safest, longest-range-electric, most durable, vehicles on Earth.''
The company hopes to have a prototype of the inflatable electric car by the end of the year, with production scheduled for 2010 at the earliest.
The company taps disruptive patent protected technologies, utilising safe non-grid-connected energy cassettes to produce the electricity to run a polymer airbeam, carbon fibre constructed ultra light and safer bodied automobiles priced at very low invoices with extremely high energy efficiency, according to a statement on its website. It says that this proven technology gives the automobile consumers a quantum leap into the future where alternate energy vehicles will be prevalent with a market size of over $200 billion.
XP Vehicles pegs the key advantages over competitors by saying that these are the safest, longest range lowest cost vehicles which can be flat-pack shipped directly to users. The company holds the intellectual property rights to the inflatable vehicle system, business model and architecture, and has some designs in development.
The car's features include an unbelievable driving range of over 2500 mile range using its patented hot-swap XPack Multi-Core Battery/Fuel Cell power plant. That would mean traversing most of the United States, which is roughly 3,000 miles across, or a respectable 300 miles on a single charge.
XP Vehicles says that this hot-swap process was invented and patented its founders,and extensive ability to customize and mitigate obsolescence (it says that EVERYTHING is upgradeable), the car can be shipped directly to customers, who can assemble it, or can have the dealer assemble it. Some of its models can change bodies, some models fold after assembly for storage or parking.
Customers can buy the car online, and it gets shipped in two cardboard boxes. The estimated assembly time is less than two hours, as the car is made of "airbags", the same polymers used to cushion NASA's rovers when they landed on Mars. The company claims that you could possibly drive the car off a cliff without serious injury, though its website cautions against it and says it is not recommended. XP Vehicles says the car will also float during a flood.
However, a notice on the website of the company cautions prospective customers to hold on to their horses, as there are no direct sales to the public yet. XP Vehicles has five body styles, the sports car, the MUV or mini utility vehicle, the ultralight, the Toy car, and the Farm car, even a special low-priced model for the Southeast Asian market.
XP Vehicles is hopeful of making a prototype by the end of the year, and will start working on built-to-order vehicles for its OEM partners, post which it plans to sell to dealers, who will then assemble the vehicle before selling further to consumers. Future plans include direct online sales, and customisation of features similar to customising a PC that consumers are used to in present times. Thereafter, customers would receive the car by a common carrier.
And there's more. Options include iPod mounts, 20 colours, trims, decals, roof/no roof, car covers, solar mounts, stereos, integrated pumps, home connections, GPS, battery clubs, alarms, and more.
XP Vehicles says that two adults with a high school education would be adequate to unpack and inflate the car in less than two hours, and the models even fold up after assembly for storage in response to the parking space crunch.
The company's website says that research has shown that the metal in the car is the largest cause of death and injury, the inflexibility of which are the main cause of injury. And it says that the car won´t "blow off the road" either, as it has special ballast and aerodynamic design features that make it very stable.
XP Vehicles is presently ''discussing orders'' only against non-disclosure agreements, and is not releasing specific vehicle data either until an official launch, that will be announced once the company receives various safety certifications.
View: Auto videos | Auto picture galleries