Kept under a glass case like a ship in a bottle, the E-Born3 from Applus Idiada at the 2012 SAE World Congress was never meant to roam free. Instead, this clever concept exists mostly to show off the engineering and design skills that Idiada can offer to automakers. But, hidden in the protective covering lies a model that puts various electric drive technologies together in an interesting way.
First, the shape of the electric bus concept is unlike anything like we've seen on the road before, and Idiada's promotional material for the E-Born3 says that the idea was to let functionality lead the design. Thanks to in-wheel motors, the interior is spacious and flexible. The second and third row of seats could be arranged like a living-room (face-to-face) or in the standard, forward facing way. The driver's seat could be set apart, for a chauffeur, or next to a passenger seat for family outings. The back is also big enough that it could hold bikes and two seats, perfect for taxing riders to the starting point of a race. The purely theoretical all-electric powertrain would provide a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles).
If it were built, the E-Born3 would be a commanding vehicle, coming in at over 4.3 meters (14 feet) long with a stormtrooper color scheme. We'd certainly like to see it shuttle people at big events like the Olympics or festivals, or even between airports and hotels.
To be fair, the E-Born3 is an old project, dating back a few years. But did what it was supposed to. Idiada's senior homologation engineer Ian Palmer told AutoblogGreen that Applus Idiada is now working for an automaker in some capacity on a smaller EV project. We know that Idiada was involved with Optimal Energy's Joule EV, so it seems people are interested in seeing what the company can do. You can, too, in the video below.