Adaptive urban mobility leverages the network economy to build a fleet of electric vehicles

A German start-up called Adaptive urban mobility (ACM) takes on the daunting task of designing and building a new vehicle from scratch. The City One will begin mass production in 2023, with the goal of delivering a fleet of electric vehicles to customers ranging from delivery services to ridesharing operations.


The network economy

ACM is a small team, on track to reach 50 employees by the end of 2021. They rely on what founder Paul Leibold calls “a network economy approach”, which allows them to outsource d ‘Huge amounts of responsibility for the design and manufacture of vehicles. to partners. Partnerships increase the size of the team by 15 times, even though most of the team are not ACM employees.

They signed a prototyping contract to horse riding, production planning to HÖRMANN Automotive, and serial production to a tier 1 international automotive supplier. Downstream functions are also managed by partners. A partner manages vehicle rental and the digital platform is developed by the Porsche subsidiary MHP.

The result is currently a small fleet of test cars, an ongoing B Series investment cycle, large-scale vehicle manufacturing plans, and a data management platform that will lower the total cost of ownership for customers.

It all sounds like the long-awaited boom in “no-build” automotive manufacturing – contract manufacturing that allows a small team of designers and executives to bring a vehicle to market, without investing in capacity itself. of capital-intensive production.

The journey has taken eight years so far, and will have taken ten by the time ACM delivers the first vehicles to customers. But, whatever the schedule, ACM is here to prove that a small startup can build a new vehicle from scratch.

the city one

City One’s target market are fleet customers who buy wholesale. The vehicle can accommodate five passengers and converts into two passengers plus cargo capacity for one Euro-pallet. In total, the vehicle weighs 950 kilograms, which is about two-thirds the weight of a standard gasoline vehicle.


Leibold quotes the price of the City One at € 15,000 (€ 12,000 in Asia), with possible options, such as advertisements on the vehicle, to lower the price to € 9,000. The low cost is due in part to the focus on fleet customers, who demand fewer options, lighter finishes, and less luxurious seats.

Double powertrain

The City One uses a new dual electric powertrain. The “fixed” battery of the vehicle supports 200 km of range, which is sufficient for continuous operation of the daytime fleet in urban areas. The City One also includes space for “swappable” battery packs, which extend the range for an additional 100 km. The combined range allows a vehicle in an urban environment to operate for approximately twenty-four full hours.

Sales manager Rajarshi Sahai reports that the vehicle charges from a standard wall outlet in about 7 hours, and faster on specialized charging infrastructure. Sahai stresses the importance of charging speed from standard outlets.


“70% of the world’s population does not have access to advanced vehicle charging infrastructure. We’re bringing the second wave of electric mobility to the rest of the world, through the shared use of fleet-owned vehicles that can operate without dedicated charging stations, ”says Sahai.

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