German startup Electric Brands has racked up over 16,000 pre-orders for the XBUS, their forthcoming modular EV. The boxy, 4-meter-long vehicle is essentially a front cab and a platform, and the customer chooses how they want to configure it. Options include a camper van, a box truck for cargo, a flat-bed pickup and a four-seater with a quasi-pickup-truck bed.
Optional roof-mounted solar panels can extend the vehicle's range (which is up to 600km/373 miles depending on selected battery options) by a further 200km/124 miles, the company claims.
The starting price for the XBUS is around €30,000 (USD $30,550), and at this point is Euro-market only. But even if I could get my hands on one of these over here, there is one incredibly poor design decision visible in the interior that gives me pause:
I can't fathom why you'd place the drive controls on the steering wheel. There are plenty of times when you'll need to reverse while the wheel is not straight, and imagine pulling a tricky five-point turn in a tight space, where you're going back-and-forth between D and R; having to hunt for the right button while the wheel is upside-down at an angle seems suboptimal. I can only guess that they placed the buttons on the wheel to avoid some manufacturing problem, but even still I think this is a poor trade-off.
Perhaps things will change in production, as the vehicle is still in the prototype stage.
It seems the XBUS won't be Electric Brands' only vehicle. They've also released this teaser image below, albeit with no information beyond "Available for order from summer 2022!"
Am very curious to learn more about that one, and to hear how people like or don't like frontal ingress/egress.