Via WorldChanging comes news of a microcar designed in Italy, manufactured in China and headed for European markets at a price of about €6,500 (US$7,000). Competitive microcars sell for €8,500 to €15,000.
Like other microcars, the MyCar is meant only as a short-range city street vehicle—and is regulated by a different ruleset than for larger cars.
These microcars are technically light quadricycles, governed by EU directive 2002/24/CE which sets out three fundamental criteria: speed, empty weight and maximum power. These vehicles, which can be driven without a license, must have an empty weight not exceeding 350 kg, a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) and develop maximum power of 4 kW (5.6 hp).
Innovech’s MyCar initially offers only a combustion engine, which meets the Euro 2 standard, but the manufacturer has aspirations for hybrid and battery-powered versions as well.
The initial test market will be Italy at the end of this year or early next year, but Innovech will also focus on France, Spain and Germany as key markets. The company will start the homologation process in Europe in mid-2006.
Built and distributed by Hong Kong-based Innovech, the MyCar was designed by highly-regarded Italian automotive design firm Italdesign-Giugiaro. In essence, instead of an Italian company outsourcing its manufacturing to China, it’s a Chinese company outsourcing its design to Italy.
The low costs come from Chinese manufacture and the use of light-weight plastics in its production.
“This is not a very sophisticated car,” [Innovech general manager Sin Ling Chung] acknowledged. “It has 20 injection molded plastic panels for the interior and exterior, and metal stampings for the engine.”