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Indigo Technologies is creating a whole new class of affordable electric vehicles. Will Graylin, CEO of Indigo Technologies, reveals to Auto Futures how the vehicles will fulfil the needs of rideshare drivers, last-mile delivery drivers and people with disabilities.

When Auto Futures last talked with Graylin, he hinted at what Project Bravo would look like. At CES 2022, the company revealed the designs for the FLOW and FLOW Plus, with unheard of battery efficiency and more cargo space than an SUV.

The Massachusetts-based company’s major innovation is the reinvention of the EV wheel. The motors and active suspension are inside the robotic IndiWheel, creating more space. MIT professor Ian Hunter invented the IndiWheel.

The FLOW is a relatively small vehicle. Because it has no axles and the motors are in the wheel, it creates the space to allow the driver’s seat to move forward between the two wheels. It helps to have a low height and a low flat surface area inside the car. There is lots of room. It is more cost-efficient, says Graylin.

The FLOW has a footprint smaller than a RAV4. It is bigger than a Chevy Bolt and close to the size of Honda Fit, but has a low floor, says Graylin.

The FLOW cargo area can hold one entire pallet of goods in up to 110 cubic feet of space. The RAV4, the most popular SUV on the market, has 63 cubic feet of cargo space and the Tesla Model Y has 76 cubic feet of storage, notes Graylin.

“The FLOW backseat holds three passengers. Because the FLOW is lower down to the ground and has sliding doors it has easy ingress and regress to the large inside cabin,” he says.

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The Right Vehicle For The Right Job

The centre driver’s seat allows the driver to exit either side of the vehicle, which is safer for deliveries. The driver has room to reach back and access the cargo, says Graylin.

INDIGO Technologies currently is showing the CAD renderings of the vehicles. They are in the process of testing the design of the FLOW. A prototype will be available later this year.

“The FLOW prototype will be on display at the LA Auto Show in the fall.” 

Following the FLOW will be the van-like FLOW Plus with 130 cubic feet of storage space.

Will Graylin

“We are looking at one particular segment. We are looking at the bigger volume that comes from the gig economy Uber, Lyft, same-day delivery, Amazon Flex drivers, food and groceries,” says Graylin.

“To get the vehicles ready for production, we are working on the chassis to bring them to market. The robotic wheels give smooth rides. Our light EVs are more efficient than anything out there with the lowest carbon footprint.

“The vehicle is smaller with more room and is easier for passengers to get in and out of,” he adds. 

Because it is light and has fewer parts, the FLOW will have a 250-mile range with a 40kWh battery.

He says large trucks and big cars are not needed to transport food, packages or people.

“You need the right vehicle for the right job. The megatrend is for delivery people to drive more while others drive less. Most gig vehicles for gig workers have lighter payloads. Rideshare vehicles have 90% that are only two passengers and 75% with one passenger,” says Graylin.

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“Nobody wants to sacrifice comfort and space.”

Eric Obers, who previously led designs at Porsche and Lucid, and Hugh Robinson, formerly of Porsche and General Motors, are heading design for the FLOW product line.

For the future, Eric Obers is working to provide a vehicle that will adjust the height and adapt its functions for people with disabilities and in wheel chairs. Adding lifts or ramps is expensive. However, another way to do that would be to adjust the height.

The FLOW will not need a full ramp. It just needs a lip for wheelchairs to enter and exit, says Graylin.

But first, the company will be focusing on the drivers who need affordable vehicles with lots of cabin space. A market the big car companies seem to be forgetting

“The traditional carmakers and OEMs are making a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are pushing SUVs and trucks while they are not addressing what works. They are creating demand,” says Graylin.

The FLOW will be Subclass 1 less than 3,000 pounds GVWR.

“In a traditional subclass vehicle, there is less room and less comfort. Nobody wants to sacrifice comfort and space. However, with Indigo Technologies FLOW, there is a lighter smooth ride with breakthrough MIT technology,” says Graylin.

He sums up the FLOW design citing the style created by Obers and Robinson.

“The FLOW has luxury and sports car looks at an economy price with the space of an SUV and a magic carpet ride.”

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