Ultra low-cost transportation doesn't have a particularly successful history in the recent past. Just ask Tata. The company's Nano subcompact was supposed to revolutionize the way low-income families the world over moved themselves, but as it turns out, even those with no money don't want to be seen in a vehicle known primarily for its cheapness. Even so, one company is working to give rural Africans a shot at changing their lives with a new low-cost SUV. Nairobi-based Mobius Motors wants to build an machine capable of handling the inhospitable roads of the continent's interior for just $6,000 – a price it says is similar to the auto rickshaw.
How? Mobius has sacrificed niceties like air conditioning and glass side windows to keep the cost as low as possible. As a result, the company's engineers have managed to craft a machine with nearly 14 inches of ground clearance and beefy skid plates underneath. There's no word on what's under the hood, though the company's first effort, the Mobius One, made use of a Toyota 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Mobius Motors says the interior can be configured to haul either people or 1,100 pounds of cargo. Not too shabby. Look for the Mobius Two to launch this year, and let's hope its emissions prove less harmful than the rickshaws Mobius hopes to replace.