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Nimbus Concept e-Car runs on flower power

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.

 

  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)
  • Nimbus Concept e-Car
    (Eduardo Galvani)

HIDE CAPTION

Exactly 50 years ago, Ken Kesey, that irascible chronicler of the US counterculture, drew a line in the sand: you were either “on the bus” or “off the bus”. Suffice it to say, Eduardo Galvani would fall in the former group.

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.

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Nimbus Concept e-Car

(Eduardo Galvani)