Those that travel short distances daily and have less use of the freeway may not need a full-size automobile. A United States startup called Wink Motors has launched a compact Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) to cater to people in this category. Some of the models even come with a solar charging feature.
The startup automaker said all four variants of the Wink NEVs exceed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements and are street-legal across the United States. However, since the miniature EVs have a government-imposed 25 mph (40 km/h) top speed, they can only operate on roads with about 35 mph (56 km/h) speed limit.
Wink NEVs are comparable in size to golf carts. However, the difference is that the four passengers are fully enclosed like a regular car. Also, with Wink NEVs, you will get some of the features of a full-size car—and more—like air conditioners, mirrors, 3-point seat belts, infotainment screens, trunks, glove boxes, and rear seats that fold to create extra cargo space.
In addition to those regular features, WINK NEVs come with other special features like electric door locks, electric windows, heaters, backup cameras, and USB chargers.
The car is powered by a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack which can be charged using the regular 120-volts household outlet. The car is propelled by electric motors that deliver 3 kW of continuous power and can reach a peak of 7 kW.
“We first rolled out two body designs based on existing models to reduce tooling costs and avoid reinventing the wheel, ” said Mark Dweck, the CEO of Wink Motors. “From there, we tailored it for the U.S market which necessitated designing the safety mechanism, controls, interior, battery, motor, and other major components to fall in line with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines for United States vehicles.”
Dweck explained that while the door handles, body panels and a few other parts were taken from existing materials, the NEV and the guts that went into the production are exclusive to Wink.
Comparison of the different models of the Wink NEVs
Wink currently offers four different versions of NEVs namely the Sprout, Sprout Solar, Mark 1, and Mark 2 models. However, in the real sense, these are basically two designs separated by the presence or absence of solar panels.
The Wink Sprout is the base model and sits at the bottom of the ladder at $8,995. The manufacturers claim that a full charge of its 60V/60-Ah battery can be achieved in 6 hours and will be able to drive you 40 miles (64 km) before you run out of power.
What we do know is that the Wink Sprout mimics the Jeep design and comes with 2 doors. Also, it has seats for just 2 passengers and a small compartment behind for cargo. It is claimed that this base model weighs 761 pounds (345 kg).
The Sprout Solar follows the external design of the base model. However, there are added perks that also bump up the price by a thousand dollars ($9,995). In terms of weight, the Sprout Solar is only slightly heavier than the base model at 798 pounds (362 kg).
Where the major difference lies is that Sprout Solar comes with a removable rooftop solar panel that is estimated to offer an extra 15 miles (24 km) range daily. Nevertheless, that will depend on the geographic location and the weather condition.
Besides the detachable solar roof, Sprout Solar also comes with a bigger 80-Ah battery that takes around 8 hours to charge. The bigger battery also means a longer range of up to 60 miles (97 km).
The Mark 1 is also the base model of the 4-door model and is priced at $10,995. With 4-doors also comes more interior space to accommodate more passengers. The cargo section is larger, thanks to the hatchback rear. Also, the rear seats can be folded to create more cargo space.
The Mark 1 shares the same 60-mile range battery as the Sprout Solar. However, it is considerably heavier than the Sprout models at 1,190 pounds (540 kg).
Mark 2 Solar
This is the advanced version of the Wink Mark brand. As the name suggests, the company brings back the detachable solar panel roof with an estimated 15 miles (24 km) extra range. This model is priced at $11,995. It is also slightly heavier than the Mark 1 at 1,250 pounds (567 kg).
All quoted prices are introductory prices and may vary slightly from one region to another. Also, the price may change depending on demand. The introductory price is valid until 30th November. Dweck said that deliveries will start later in November.