Photo: still from Nobe's video "MyNobeCar" Walking around in the city, or going from place to place on the highway, you move at a steady pace with your eyes fixed on the horizon and the road in front of you. A swathe of utilitarian monochromatic and teal metal boxes flow beside you. Steadily, steadily. You drift into a hypnotic moving state... Until something bright zips by in your peripheral vision. Heads turn. Among pedestrians, cameras will come out. It's like a spark that has alerted everyone in an instant.
Such is the electricity of a meticulously designed vehicle. When function is idolized over style, our means of transportation can get a little bit boring. A quirky car brings out the ideals of adventure and excitement. When it's a glistening scarlet red car with three wheels and an emission-free engine going past you, then you know it's about time to act on those ideals.
Nobe is an Estonian company, born and raised. The word “Nobe” in Estonian could refer to something that is agile and nimble. It can saunter down cobblestone streets, glide along a coastal highway or careen through a few inches of fresh snow in the countryside. It's true. Nobe has videos with its cars being tested on all kind of surfaces, including LaitseRallyPark in Harjumaa, and other snow-covered roads in Estonia.
The company's logo is a woman with her pony tail blustering in the wind. A silver ornament of this logo festoons the hood of each Nobe car. It's not the three pointed star of a Mercedes, or a leaping jaguar. It's more like a vision of what any driver would look like while driving with the windows open or convertible top retracted. Three seats, for you and two friends. You, someone special, and your luggage in the back. Or just you, with even more stuff packed in. The frame is light, so none of that should be a problem when it comes to maneuvering swiftly on the road. At the same time, the cars materials are designed to be recyclable.
Their cars are inspired by the Benz Patent-Motorwagen from 1885, but have received the contemporary treatment. Futuristic driving shapes up to be something fun. The contours are bold and perplexing: looking at it for the first time, the back appears to be bent in a high speed photographic illusion. The interiors are straightforward. Available colours include red and black, with blue arriving soon.
Still, as with any novelty car we see on the road, we are left to wonder how practical and safe it is. What are the technical specifications?
According to Nobe, the car's battery takes two hours to charge. With a range of 210 kilometres, you could take a Nobe 100 and just about drive from downtown Toronto to the shores of Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, and then back, on one fully charged battery. It's output is 54 kW. With the Nobe 100 GT, a higher battery output (72 kW) model on offer from Nobe, that all-electric range is increased to 260 kilometres.
Want to take it on the highway? This speedy machine can accelerate to 100 kilometres per hour in 5.9 seconds, with a maximum speed of 130 km/h.
One point in particular that arises when talking about vehicles with three wheels is whether or not it's stable. Lateral stability is compromised for road vehicles of all kinds when making turns, as the centre of gravity shifts out from under the body of the vehicle to the sides where the tires are. Usually, a tilt or slide feature would be engaged to prevent the vehicle tipping over. In the case of Nobe, stability is accounted for by placing two of the three wheels at the front rather than at the back, and locating the battery low down to the ground, along with the triangular chassis of the car.
Nobe has vouched for their cars' safety in other ways, too. The physical strength of the triangle as a shape, and their Delta Frame protective cage, is said to protect passengers in the event of a collision. The regenerative anti-lock braking system (ABS) would temporarily store the vehicle's kinetic energy, to maintain traction and avoid skidding out of control if the driver suddenly breaks.
While the price of electric cars is still too prohibitive to make it as commonly used as vehicles powered by fossil fuels, more and more styles and designs from different companies indicate a serious change of direction for car manufacturing on the whole. Society has been ready for sustainable transportation for a long time, and more companies should pay attention to that demand.
Nobe began accepting pre-orders for the Nobe 100 model back in the autumn of 2019, through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign launched by CEO Roman Muljar. Though their original funding goal was not achieved, things are still on track for a 2021 delivery on those initial orders, and their exuberant design and branding are revving up the anticipation all over the world for what will be many people's very first electric car.
...Oh, and by the way, it has a built-in espresso machine.
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