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Swedish EV start-up Uniti to go without car dealer network

Uniti One electric vehicle (EV)

Swedish electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Uniti is set to side-step traditional car retailers when it delivers its £15,100 Unity One zero emissions urban hatchback to the first customers in mid-2020.

The carmaker, founded as part of a project at Lund University and funded with the help of crowdfunding initiatives, is set to open order books for its new Uniti One three-seater hatchback next month, but will follow the likes of Lynk&Co and Byton by side-stepping a traditional car retail network.

In a statement issued to announce the official European launch of the brand this week, Uniti said: “Uniti’s customer service has been specifically designed around the driver, using technology to facilitate a customer-direct relationship, maximising speed of response and convenience.

“Notably skipping the industry-standard dealership network, Uniti engages with its customers directly via its website,”

Uniti said that most of the Uniti One’s software functions can be updated or enhanced remotely thanks to its Over-The-Air connectivity, which also greatly reduces diagnostic time.

Routine service inspections will be conducted by a dedicated, European-wide network of mobile technicians, at a convenient time and location for the customer, meanwhile.

Earlier this year Frost & Sullivan’s automotive sector specialist, Sarwant Singh, told AM: "I don’t foresee a time when another car manufacturer will enter the UK with a desire to establish traditional franchisee relationships or any significant physical presence.”

His comments came as Geely’s Polestar and Lynk & Co brands, along with fellow new market entrant, Byton, all revealed their intentions not to establish a franchised retail network of any scale.

“I foresee brands coming and perhaps having a presence in five or six cities across the UK and that will be it, like the model set to be adopted by Polestar,” Singh told AM.

The Swedish Uniti One hatchback will be offered with a choice of two battery sizes, offering a maximum range of up to 300km (186 miles) and the brand said that its battery can be charged from 20% to 80% in just seventeen minutes with a 50 kW CCS charger.

Uniti said that class-leading 8.0 kWh/100km efficiency is achieved through a weight-saving ethos which give the Uniti One a kerb weight of just 600 kg.

The new alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) is offered with a comprehensive 60,000 mile or three-year warranty and its battery and electric driveline are each covered by a five-year or 60,000-mile warranty.

The Uniti One is also covered by an extensive twelve-year anti-perforation warranty and a two-year, 24-hour UK and European breakdown package is provided as standard.

Customers that place an order before the end of November 2019 will secure a place in Uniti’s exclusive ‘Founders Club’, entitling them to a host of exclusive benefits, including free software upgrades and enhancements for life.

The Uniti One is priced at £15,100 following application of the Government’s £3,500 ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) grant.

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