The Brazilian artist and designer has devised the Nimbus: a range-extended electric road-tripper with panoramic glass and on-demand four-wheel drive. The shape of the design study is halfway between the recently discontinued Volkswagen Kombi and an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, but don’t be deceived by that adorable mien – the Nimbus has world-conquering potential.
The van employs a 180-horsepower electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. A rear-mounted internal-combustion micro-generator keeps the power flowing on the go, abetted by a regenerative braking system and an array of rooftop photovoltaic cells. The drivetrain offers four modes – Energy Saver, Standard Trip, Faster Cruise and 4WD. Fuel consumption – which, admittedly, is just as hypothetical as the rest of the car – is claimed at a rather startling 181mpg, with a cruising range of up to 200 miles. The trip from zero to 62mph takes a relaxed 13 seconds, and the Nimbus will roll on to a top speed of 100mph.
However cute, the Nimbus is not petite. The van measures 14ft long, 7ft wide and 8.5ft tall, just 6in shorter end-to-end than a Mercedes-Benz G550 but taller by more than 2ft. And because the exceptionally stout body (which features a self-cleaning finish) is crafted of carbon fibre composite, aluminium and titanium, the e-Car tips the scales at just 3,570lbs – fully 2,000lbs less than the brawny Benz.
The cabin features seating for five and a small refrigerator with room for eight beverage cans (please recycle). There is an onboard wi-fi hub and a scattering of USB ports and power outlets. The centre console features a removable 7in tablet computer with a proprietary interface which, in addition to a full web browser, social media suite and videoconferencing capability, displays data from an on-board inclinometer, altimeter and weather station. The device also allows occupants to control the van’s audio system, interior lighting, climate control and navigation display.
For all the real-world vanguard technologies packed inside, this magic bus may remain parked in the realm of fantasy. Galvani has disclosed no production plans for the Nimbus.