Originally launched at the IAA commercial vehicle show in Frankfurt a year or so back, the tidy little Mahle Meet city car concept didn’t get much attention at the time, so as it made a return appearance at CES this year we thought we’d give it a fresh look.
Its maker, Mahle, is a gigantic Stuttgart-based automotive components supplier. Specialising in mechanical components and electronics of various kinds including motors and HVAC, the firm has clearly seen that the writing is on the wall for internal combustion technology and decided to show off its capabilities with an electric car.
It’s a neat, if unsurprising, take on the classic small city car design, with a few mildly amusing quirks including vivid neon blue interior lighting, a scent bottle built into the dash, so you can make it smell how you like (not ‘late night taxi kebab’, we hope), doormat material as a rear shelf liner, and built-in monowheels for last-few-hundred-yards journeys.
But more interestingly, it’s deliberately been designed to be light, small and cheap to build – this isn’t exactly a Tesla Model X. The Meet has also been designed to be highly energy efficient, thereby giving it a theoretical time between charges of up to seven days.
Some of the clever bits are there to show off Mahle’s expertise (quite literally, as you can see several components through a translucent bonnet). For instance, the heating system uses very little energy thanks to highly efficient thermal management and an unusual surface heating system using thin film elements in areas that the occupants come into contact with like seats and trim panels. This can be controlled in separate zones for driver and passenger, therefore potentially saving energy and making the heating and cooling systems use less power.
It’s a well thought-out concept, and as it comes from an existing component manufacturer, some serious thinking has gone into its internal workings rather than its exterior. Food for thought, and a good showcase for the idea of efficient, cheap, minimal-impact mobility. For more details, take a look at the video below: