Robert Hoevers, CEO of Squad Mobility, has a history in green mobility. He was one of the brains behind the Formula E Championship and he also helped develop the Lightyear One, a long-range, solar-powered car.
It was whilst working at Netherlands-based Lightyear that he met Chris Klock, who’s now Head of Design for Squad Mobility.
Together they created The Squad, a two-person car that has a solar roof and can travel at speeds of up to 45 km/h.
Hoevers tells us: “It looks like a little car but legally it’s a scooter. So you have the ease of use of a scooter; you can basically park it anywhere. You can drive either on the road or around bicycle parks. It’s very small and light. It’s also very cost-efficient.”
The Squad also has some of the best features of a car. It’s robust, you stay dry in bad weather and it’s more stable than a scooter. And there are other key benefits…
“The insurance is much lower (than a car). You don’t pay road tax. You don’t pay congestion charge. There are these huge savings over the whole life cycle.”
It’s currently available for pre-order on the Squad Mobility website and deliveries will start in 2021 in the EU.
“We want to make this a more social, interactive experience.”
The Squad has been built with families in mind, particularly in urban areas. “Bringing the kids to school. Bringing the kids to sports clubs. Doing groceries. But also commuting to work.”
Hoevers notes that, in Holland, 60% of people live within 15 kms of their work and 90% of them live in the suburbs. He says: “What I see for the future is that you have, in the suburbs, two cars. You have one car to go out of the city and you have one car to go into the city.”
The footprint of a stationary car is 10 m2, whereas a Squad only needs 2 m2. Therefore, four Squads can be parked crosswise in one car parking space.
Chris Klock says they spent a lot of time on the design and the small dimensions of the vehicle were a real challenge.
“The goal was to develop a distinctive, youthful, accessible and fresh design for this new category and to disrupt the car archetype, of people moving about in their own little box. We want to make this a more social, interactive experience where the passengers feel included in their urban environment, while still enjoying the comfort of protection from weather and sun.”
Hoevers says that solar power is an advantage especially in an urban environment where the driver will only be travelling short distances.
“The Squad is actually designed for private use but it’s also designed for mobility as a service. Sharing platforms are particularly interesting for solar.
“When the car is parked somewhere, it’s almost empty. Then, after a while, there is some range again and you can use it again. It has wireless photo-charging and that’s, of course, ideal when you have a few hundred cars in a mobility sharing platform,” he adds.
Klock states: “The Squad is conceived as an essential mobility solution, with state-of-the-art technology such as in-wheel motors and a solar panel. This combination will make the Squad accessible for a much larger group of users, without the hassle of maintenance.”
A cargo version of The Squad is now available to order. Hoevers says it’s ideal for food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
“It has a limited space but it has a very fast delivery time. You can easily reach your target because the car is so small. The car is only two metres in length and the width is only one metre.
“You can also have refrigerated storage in the back. And have the refrigerator unit working on solar.”
As for the future, Hoevers and Klock are considering developing a Squad that can go faster than the current 45 km/h.
“If you go a little more out of the city, if you have a little bit more space around you, then 45 km/h can be slow. There could be demand for a 80 km/h version.”