It's small, it's simple, and it's designed to be customized to fit the needs of the owner, and modified or upgraded over its life.
Instead of focusing so much on building more electric vehicles with longer ranges, and big heavy complex EVs that mimic traditional gas-powered cars in everything from size to design to cost, another tactic for cleaner mobility is to build smaller, simpler electric vehicles, and EVs with shorter ranges. In the US, the average miles driven per day for most (70%) drivers is less than 60, which is well within the range of many electric vehicles currently on the market, and there are plenty of applications in intra-city transport for small EVs with an even shorter range.
Sure, it'd be great to have an electric vehicle that can handle a 400-mile road trip without stopping for a charge, but for most of us, those kinds of trips are the exception, not the usual type of driving we do, and right now, getting an EV with a range anywhere close to that will set you back about $70,000 for a Tesla Model S, which isn't exactly affordable. And although driving a Tesla might be exciting, using a 5,000 pound full-size electric vehicle to haul around a single human is hardly an efficient use of resources, whereas a much smaller, slower, electric vehicle could be not only cheaper to own and operate, but would be the more appropriate choice for many car trips for single drivers, and would take up much less space for parking and driving than a full-sized vehicle.
All of that is a long-winded way of saying that I'm a fan of those working to develop smaller, more affordable EVs, and opensource DIY electrified vehicles, even if some of those concepts don't pan out right away, and an even longer way of introducing the work of a French company, XYT.
Although we still don't know the detailed specs of the XYT vehicles, or what the range per charge and estimated costs are, the concept of a modular, customizable electric vehicle comprised of just 580 parts, and which could be assembled locally and then be upgraded or modernized as desired after the fact, seems like a breath of fresh air when compared to the traditional auto manufacturing model. The design of the PIXEL looks to be a good fit for service calls, light deliveries, small businesses, and other utility vehicle purposes in the city, potentially displacing some (or all) of the gas- and diesel-powered small truck traffic with a cleaner alternative.
Take a look at this footage (and learn more if you speak French):
And here's another, earlier taste of what XYT is up to, this time with English subtitles:
Our vision: To live better and create new opportunities in the city as in the countryside .
We believe that the future of professional mobility is based on new value creation spaces. Modular, clean and mobile.
These new mobile spaces, helpful even when stationary, allow professionals to create new experiences for their customers and architects of cities to reinvent public spaces. - XYT (via Google Translate)
It looks intriguing, to say the least, but at this point, there's no indication of when the vehicles might go fully into production and be available for purchase. The only reference I found to any details is in a reader comment on this article, which stated that the range is between 100 and 200 kilometers, the top speed is 100 kph, and the price (after incentives) would be about €15,000. If you're interested in staying in the loop on this venture, the company has an email newsletter signup form on its website, and offers updates via its Facebook page.