Gordon Murray Design, alongside UK consortium partners, Delta Motorsport and itMoves, revealed MOTIV on the 11th of February at the MOVE 2020 exhibition in London.

The vehicle is an all-electric, single-seater quadricycle that is lightweight, cost effective and meets European car crash safety requirements. It is powered by a fully electric powertrain provided by Delta Motorsport and is supported by a 20kw motor. This technology, alongside a 17.3kWh liquid-cooled battery pack, gives the car a potential range of up to 100km.

Despite the vehicle’s compact battery, it can be charged quickly – recharging from 20% to 80% battery in 40 minutes. This efficiency comes down to the vehicle utilizing Gordon Murray Design’s iStream Superlight technology. By integrating extruded aluminum in the chassis, using aluminum in the suspension, and creating a composite door and panels, the vehicle’s weight is kept under 450kg (excluding batteries). This not only allows the battery to be smaller without hindering its power, but reduces the raw material used in the manufacturing process – making its production more cost-effective than that of a conventional vehicle. The vehicle’s interior is spacious enough to host a 24-inch display system, a HVAC system and space to perch a laptop.

MOTIV’s most significant feature is its versatility as a platform that can be utilized for a range of purposes. In a video posted by itMoves, responsible for conceptualizing MOTIV, some of its potential configurations were shown. While the vehicle currently supports one passenger, its build allows it to be expanded to make room for a second passenger or provide access for a wheelchair. While the video presents MOTIV predominantly as a ride-hailing service, it also sheds light on its capabilities as a commercial delivery service, with over 1,100 liters of interior space that can be used to store goods. Furthermore, one of the configurations sees the vehicle using a ‘non-autonomous’ drive by wire, adding a steering wheel and allowing it to be driven like a conventional car. Despite their differences, all configurations make use of the vehicle’s gull-wing door that allows for easy access and weather protection for passengers and when loading deliveries.

The adaptability of MOTIV into a range of different configurations and services is a unique innovation for the autonomous industry and is one of the first to integrate Mobility as a Service (MaaS). While similar urban-focused autonomous concepts have prioritized providing a ride-hailing service, MOTIV has a range of purposes in mind that come as a result of the vehicle’s size, adaptability and capable range. Additionally, with such a range of examples coming solely from its announcement, and the potential for more in the future, MOTIV could be the platform that brings MaaS to the mainstream.

While MOTIV is currently a concept, the consortium aims to partner with autonomous technology providers to conduct real-world testing. Then, depending on those tests and legislation, it could enter mass production within two to five years. MOTIV presents an intriguing, versatile, vision for the future of autonomous vehicles and, with an optimistic timeline, it will be interesting to see how it develops as both an autonomous vehicle and a service platform.