Can you introduce NEVS to our students?
NEVS stands for National Electric Vehicle Sweden. We are a thought-leading member of the automotive industry with international roots. Our work and concepts go beyond the electric car to include creative mobility solutions for a better world.
NEVS was founded in 2012 by Kai Johan Jiang, a Swedish citizen originally from China. Before founding NEVS, Jiang built the largest biomass power business in China using straw, an unwanted by-product of farmers in the Chinese countryside.
This commitment to clean energy and sustainability has served well in the founding and development of NEVS, which is also highly international. We acquired the assets of the US company Saab and are now owned by China Evergrande Group, a Fortune Global 500 company.
Can you tell us a bit about a project you’re working on now?
On July 1, 2020, we presented our new service: PONS Mobility Ecosystem. The self-driving vehicle Sango is at the centre of this system. It is the first generation of autonomous electric vehicles. It enables sustainable, safe and chic shared mobility. The system offers a connected and responsive user interface. This lets riders adapt the interior design and environment to their needs.
Think of it like a luxury automated rideshare taxi service that can transport up to 6 passengers. You can reserve a seat through an app and select your privacy setting, whether it’s an open rideshare or a car you share specifically with your family, friends or workmates. There are a variety of modes to select from. These modes adjust the seats and interior of the car for private mode, social mode or family mode.
We are working on a party mode, where you can connect your Spotify to Sango and choose your own music, lights, etc. The vehicle has a strong focus on the user. Of course there are different settings for if you want to work or relax. Climate control is individual; each seat has its own climate control system.
We are even developing thematic modes. For example, let’s say you want a clean, automated rideshare to get to work every day. You can gather people with the same type of interests with something like a Game of Thrones car. You can gather people who work at the same company, or people who have the same hobby. It is highly customisable.
The idea is that the PONS service is so good and affordable that you really won’t want to own your own car. This system uses cleaner energy and reduces the total number of cars on the road. It is adaptive shared electric mobility. We want to sell kilometres, not cars.
When will this be available?
PONS featuring Sango is scheduled to go live in Stockholm in late 2021 or early 2022 within a geo-fenced area. The pilot programme has been greenlit by the transportation authority. We plan to expand to other cities and countries following this launch.
What unique engineering challenges or developments are featured?
We are testing this car right now in Trollhättan. We are using a new type of energy system for safety. If there is any kind of failure, the vehicle has to continue the ride in a safe way. This requires lots of smart solutions.
The architecture is also not like a regular car. Of course the interior is highly adaptable. Also the Sango features in-wheel electric motors. This allows for a lot of extra space in the vehicle and also makes the vehicle safer. You don’t have big components in the middle. There is lots of space for adaptability and to put safety features in between in the very unlikely case of collision.
There are so many new developments. It requires work in areas from ergonomics, to routing, to usability of apps…I am constantly submitting things to the patent office, including lots of new patents for automation, robotics, batteries, etc.
Can students at University West hope to be involved?
Absolutely yes! I believe a lot in the value of international students coming to learn with us before they graduate. We are happy to have students work on a joint master’s thesis with NEVS and University West. It is an exciting opportunity, as everything is stemming from a new concept. For the past 100 years, the auto industry has just been improving what was already there. Now with electric cars, we’re developing many completely new solutions.
In this beginning of our new era, we are so happy University West is starting this new Master in Electric Vehicle Engineering as well as incorporating knowledge of electric vehicles into their new Bachelor in International Mechanical Engineering. I don’t know if there is any other university with this type of focus.
It is also a good opportunity for our company because many times University West students come with fresh ideas and a good mind-set. After their work with us is complete, we always try to keep the best students with the sharpest minds.