From their unique take on manufacturing, to the funding process, and even to the very concept of the car itself, everything about the Uniti project has been innovative. Unsurprisingly, the launch of the first Uniti car has been highly anticipated across Sweden, home to the company's headquarters.
On 24th October 2018, it was revealed that Uniti Sweden will move the manufacturing of their electric car from the planned location in Landskrona, Sweden to Silverstone in the United Kingdom. In a press release, CEO Lewis Horne stated -
“It’s no secret that some of the world’s best vehicle engineers are clustered around Silverstone. When coupled with a government receptive to our ambition and goals, we couldn’t find a better home to establish our pilot production facility.”
Due to Uniti’s particular need for light-weight and strong carbon fibres found primarily in the UK, the team felt the change was a requirement. It has also been cited that the manufacturing technology needed for the project could only be found in the UK, as reported by Forbes Magazine.
Contradicting the flow
This shift raises questions, given the wider context of a post-Brexit United Kingdom. After the referendum, the United Kingdom has seen a drop in European foreign investment. According to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, one in seven EU businesses with UK suppliers have moved parts of their operations out of the UK.
Despite this exodus of European based companies from the UK’s soil, Uniti reiterates that it is the competence and talent congregated there which will drive the project forward.
Uniti will be able to create a digital twin of the product. They will also gain the required resources to commence production in other locations, such as Sweden. In due time, the team’s plans are to spread beyond the UK or Sweden. In Horne’s own words, “The digital world is, after all, a borderless world.”
A green reception
Sweden is known worldwide for its environmental friendly initiatives and its innovative approach to recycling and re-usable waste. Unlike the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries already have several measures in place to promote green initiatives, many of which encourage citizen participation.
These initiatives are not as prevalent in the UK. Because of this, the question lingers of whether or not citizens in the UK would embrace the Uniti car in the same way the people of Scandinavia would.
The Uniti team is confident that the answer is yes. They claim the UK is embracing the more environmentally friendly aspects of the car. In fact, the target market is progressively-minded individuals, who will recognise the car’s advantages. Perhaps even being on the forefront of a more environmentally conscious wave of future generations.
A more reliable alternative
Though the shift in the production facilities will lead to a slight increase in the price of a Uniti vehicle, this increase will serve to guarantee higher safety standards and performance. The team guarantees that whatever increases there are, they will remain a topic of discussion with potential customers.
Horne plans to roll out the vehicle in the UK and Scandinavia at the same time. Despite the changes made to the initial production plans, the team remains focused on delivering on the original promise of a Scandinavian launch.
It is exciting to see the Uniti project coming to life. However, time will tell if the team’s contagiously optimistic approach to the public’s embrace of the product is well placed. Will this change of plan prove to be ill-fated, or will Horne's vision of the digitally borderless world be realised?
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