"Oscar is smarter than the Smart", read the headlines of the Berliner Morgenpost after the little electric flitzer made a visit to the capital city. Oscar, for Open Source CAR, is an electric car developed by Felix von Borck of Akasol and a group of students at the Technical University of Darmstadt (which you may remember as the winner of the 2007 Solar Decathlon). Oscar was invited to Berlin for a meeting of the Green Party members in Germany's Bundestag (Parliament). There, Oscar drew the attention of a VW engineer. It is certainly not the looks, so what is it that draws VW's attention to Oscar?According to von Borck, it is the drive train concept, with a powerful lithium-ion battery, that draws attention to Oscar. The Oscar project started with simple data: the average occupancy of an auto is 1.3 persons. 90% of all trips are under 9 km (5.6 miles). The Oscar is designed and developed specifically for this everyday use. The Oscar seats two adults, one behind the other, with a drawer for luggage that slides out from under the seating area. And it consumes 6kWh per hundred kilometers, the equivalent in electricity of one liter of diesel per hundred kilometers or 235 mpg.
Von Borck credits manufacturers like Tesla with moving the electric car cause forward, but dismisses Tesla as a toy: "It is like a Ferrari, which people will not be able to afford." By contrast, he calculates the Oscar could be sold for 5000€ if it is mass produced.
And the Oscar may be a step closer to mass production. At the Green Party meeting, that VW engineer took a test drive. Von Borck reports to Germany's Die Welt that the test drive promptly resulted in an invitation to Volkswagen.