For about three years now we’ve been so excited for an electric vehicle, almost exactly like this, to exist. Why? Because there is a void between electric scooters and electric vehicles that needs filling.
So, here to tell us all about the Nimbus One, the incredible tilting pod vehicle that can go on the freeway and lane split, is Lihang Nong, the CEO and founder of Nimbus.
Promising Entrepreneurs Showcase Breakthrough New Micromobility Products
When we think about micromobility, there are e-bikes, there are e-scooters, and there are e-vehicles. But there’s a tremendous gap between a 50.0 lb e-scooter and a 5,000.0 lb electric car. And we don’t just mean the difference in weight and size. We mean also in terms of comfort, protection from the weather, and things like that.
And what Nimbus has created and brought to market is what you could call the Pod Form Factor.
“Don’t think of it as a tiny car, think of it more as a weather enclosed e-bike, or something similar.”
Probably the most interesting thing about this pod EV, says Lihang, is the footprint and weight. It’s no wider and no longer than a motorbike, meaning it unlocks a lot of benefits in terms of parking, and also the ability to go through traffic faster.
Plus, it’s incredibly light, and the compactness makes it more efficient, both in terms of space but also energy usage.
Removable, Swappable Batteries
One of the coolest things about the Nimbus, is that it’s powered with swappable batteries. Weighing just 20.0 lbs each, you can lift them out of the vehicle by hand and carry them.
Each pod EV comes with four battery packs, giving you a range of 93.0 miles. So, if you live in a city and you’ve been hankering for an EV to get around town, but you don’t have anywhere to park it, and you’re concerned about how you’re going to charge it – don’t.
With the Nimbus One, you can literally remove the batteries and carry them up to your apartment to charge in their dock overnight. No more running extension cords out of windows, or stringing them through the trees to juice up your pod EV. You just bring the batteries inside to charge.
The Nimbus One is Freeway Legal
There are two versions of the Nimbus One:
- The base version has a 50.0 mph top speed
- The highway version has a 75.0 mphtop speed
If you want to ride the Nimbus on the freeway, go for the highway version, it’s a little bit faster and way more powerful.
Even better, when you’re driving in town, you’re eligible for the carpool lane. How can you get away with this? Because this new pod EV is neither licensed as a motorcycle or as a car. It’s actually classified as an auto-cycle in some states, says Lihang, because it has a steering wheel. And no, you don’t need to wear a helmet.
One thing to note with this pod EV is because it has a seat belt you need a regular car license to drive it. But it’s not a hard vehicle to master.
With micromobility vehicles or anything on two wheels, says Lihang, as the vehicle’s weight starts to get higher, it becomes harder and harder for someone to use. We all know how to ride a bike because we learned as a kid, but those bike-riding skills aren’t directly transferable to riding a motorcycle, for example. If you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle, you have to go through a course because it’s a hard skill to master.
The Nimbus One, however, drives exactly like a car, and no, you don’t need to worry about controlling its tilt, there’s a control system that balances the vehicle for you, so you don’t have to think about doing any of that – in fact, there’s very little learning curve here. Simply get in and go.
Why Tilting is Important
So, we’ve mentioned that this incredible pod EV tilts, but how does it tilt, and why is tilting so important?
Basically, the two front wheels move in an arc, up and down, and that enables the vehicle to tilt.
But why does it tilt? Well, because this pod EV isn’t a mini car, in order to make the Nimbus light, small, and maneuverable, it has to tilt. Otherwise, to go round corners it would need to be as wide as a regular car. Or you would have to lower the center of gravity so much that you’re basically sitting on the ground. And nobody wants that.
So in the Nimbus, when you’re sitting in the vehicle your view height is about the same as it is in a sedan, says Lihang.
“The tilting allowed us to build the vehicle up, and the tilting allows the vehicle to be balanced.”
Pods are by far the smallest and most early form factor in micromobility, but in many respects the Nimbus could actually be one of the very largest, if not the largest of all.
People say that excellent companies and products work backwards from problems, and that’s what we love so much about the Nimbus, as opposed to any other small car concepts – they’ve worked backwards from real-world problems. You can park this pod EV perpendicularly, nose in, or rear end in; you can lane split; you can ride it on the freeway, and all the while you have the essential safety features such as traction control and airbags, and the perception of just feeling safe and comfortable.
And they’ve done all of that while keeping brand and design front and center, with awareness of consumer identity and satisfaction of ownership too.
The LED Matrix
On the front of the pod EV, right below the wind shield, is an LED Matrix that allows the vehicle to be customized and convey a little personality. People want to feel a connection to things that they use or own, says Lihang, and this feature definitely makes driving this pod EV a little bit more fun.
What would you write on there? Whatever you want, says Lihang, perhaps there’s someone on the road that you’re pleased or not pleased with…
The Interior and the Controls
The controls are very similar to what you’d find in a car: there’s a steering wheel, a brake pedal in the middle, and a gas pedal on the right – they’ve kept the layout very minimal. There’s also a cup holder, a mount for your phone, signals, and a windshield wiper, as well as a selector for your drive modes including park, reverse, neutral, and drive.
Everything else is controlled by a touch screen which shows you the speed, the state of charge, and how many miles you have left. It also shows you the tilt angle, like an aircraft, you can see how much you’re tilting and what types of angles you’re at (maximum tilt is 33 degrees).
You can also control other features from the display too, such as heating (which comes as standard, AC is an additional option). You can even play music – there’s a sound system, so you can listen to music or a podcast.
Did you know? There’s a variant of the Nimbus One that takes the rear seat and turns it into storage. On the back of the pod, you can even pop the little deck down and there’s space to transport boxes. This EV is compact and still has a decent amount of space.
“We built this vehicle as a platform for not just moving people around but also goods: food delivery and grocery delivery.”
How Much does Nimbus One Cost, and Where Can I Buy One?
So the vehicle is priced at $9,980 – just under $10,000. Or it’s available to rent from $200 per month, which includes insurance. And that’s a flexible model where you can rent it month by month, and cancel anytime.
In terms of launch, they’re starting with a rollout in a few cities in the U.S, they haven’t announced which ones yet, and then they’re going to Europe shortly after that.
Considering the average car price is $37,000, this pod EV comes in at almost a quarter of the price, and the fact that it compares to the price of two high-end scooters, or two high-end e-bikes too, the amount of utility you’re getting for such a low price is pretty amazing.
We don’t know about you, but we’re so excited about this product. It’s pushing the boundaries of the micromobility space. Even what they’re doing with the supply chain and the production of this pod EV is paving the way for micromobility as a whole, and for that we are eternally grateful.