LOOX -electric, comfortable and energetic city car from company DOK-ING
Loox EV – The Concept
LOOX is an electric, comfortable and energetic city car developed in Croatia.
LOOX is a prominent example of modern Croatian design which is characterized by originality, novelty and allure.
It is at the forefront in security and its treatment of the environment (firm sports chassis with a low center of gravity which carries a stiff safety cabin, visibility, precise control and integrated electronic stability program, non-flammable batteries and environmentally-friendly materials that are almost entirely renewable...)
Technically innovative – designed for the new era of socially responsible driving: the latest generation of non-flammable batteries, independent 2/4-wheel drive, featuring an integral electronic (computer-based) monitoring and control system, regenerative braking, driver's seat that rotates toward the door, touch screen displays, infotainment entertainment and navigation system...
A New Era in Urban Driving
LOOX ushers in a new era of urban driving that combines safety, agility, comfort and performance the likes of which have never been accomplished before in a small city car – with 0 C02.
By following environmental trends and developing the latest technological advances, since its foundation DOK-ING has been committed to sustainable development programs, including the transition to alternative vehicle drives. Therefore, a certain proportion of utility vehicles developed by DOK-ING is either hybrid or fully electric. An electric city car concept code-named “LOOX” is about to join their ranks now. DOK-ING believes that now is a good time for its development, because the world market for electric cars has not yet been fully formed.
The Croatian Government and the EU have a very positive opinion regarding the development of these technologies, whose importance doesn’t need to be emphasized (because electric cars generate ZERO CO2). Yet, due to the current cycle of recession, foreign investments will most likely be essential for the realization of mass production in Croatia. In case investors are not found, DOK-ING plans to manufacture and equip LOOX based on a build-to-order principle.
Special Features of LOOX
In short, the special feature and advantage of LOOX is that this electric city car is a three-seater:
Short – its length puts it in the group of so-called A-segment cars or, as they are nowadays called, city cars.
Comfortable – its width puts it in the group of D-segment cars (Passat, Insignia...) in which the driver and the two cabin passengers are arranged in the form of the letter Y. The driver is in the middle, and the two passenger seats are placed slightly behind him/sideways – providing everyone with an exceptional level of comfort not previously seen in the category of small city cars.
Energetic – acceleration/dynamism of the S (sports) segment – for example, Golf GTI with a 2-liter engine and 200 hp is faster than LOOX (its acceleration is 7.6 seconds in theory, meaning that it is 0.4 seconds faster – if driven by an experienced driver such as the rally driver Niko Pulić).
Alluring – emotional design and innovative technologies provide LOOX with the appeal particularly popular with the “young and innovative – emotionally and sporty leading upper medium premium segment”. That is why it is expected that the first drivers of LOOX will come from the circles of young, innovative and environmentally conscious people to whom LOOX will offer numerous interesting solutions.
CROATIAN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF
LOOX represents a continuation of a series of successful solutions that Croatian design offered to the world. Even though Croatia is still not among the most famous designer countries, its design has become distinctively recognizable by exciting and meaningful forms that introduce original and novel ideas.
AN ORGANIC FIGURE FULL OF PASSION (VISUAL APPEAL)
The emotional design of LOOX is dominated by three elements – the organic figure of its rounded body with incorporated fenders and doors that open upwards (gull wing), assertive look of the front part of the vehicle “with bright, slanted eyes”, and signal lights shaped as the letter “X” that define the rear side of LOOX. They come to the fore particularly during the ride because they are programmed in a way that the whole shape in the form of “X” lights up when the car is braking, and only half of this shape lights up when the car is turning; more specifically, the arrow pointing in the direction that LOOX will continue driving along.
ASSERTIVE1 AND DYNAMIC CHARACTER OF LOOX
Bold front-end styling of LOOX is an expression of the vehicle’s strong character – the “likeable and intelligent urban rascal” who has found its safety and life purpose in becoming environmental aware. This clear-cut attitude adopted by LOOX found its match in the purity of its aerodynamically designed body which, like a musical counterpoint, enhances the gentleness that governs its boundless energy. Wraparound window graphic applied to the car emphasizes LOOX’s open-mindedness, as well as its concern for the passengers’ safety.
ZIPPY CITY BUG
The sensual rotund shape of LOOX’s body resembles a “bubble” (or, as some automobile magazines began to call it, a “zippy city bug”) and provides extensive and functional comfort, as well as safety. In short, not only is its shape exciting, but it also justifies the notion that “falling in love with LOOX at first sight” makes sense, since it provides us with everything we need to enjoy the modern concept of a comfortable and energetic city car, and especially an innovative and electric one like this. LOOX's design and stylization do not only embody its intelligent and passionate personality in an apt manner, but they also make its appearance visually unique.
Comfort: A Small Sedan the Likes of Which You’ve Never Seen Before
ERGONOMIC AND SPACIOUS, DRIVER- AND PASSENGER-ORIENTED CABIN
The ergonomic concept of functionality, comfort and convenience forms the basis of LOOX’s interior cabin design. Therefore, the comfort in LOOX begins by entering it. LOOX's wide doors open up almost the entire cabin, so entering and sitting on the front and “rear” seats is very easy – it is entirely unhindered.
The fully featured version of LOOX has doors which unlock themselves – they will recognize that you possess a coded key (convenient when you are carrying a child in your arms or if your hands are full, isn’t it?). Then the doors will open “on their own” (electrically), first to the side and then upwards, while not requiring any more space than standard car doors - up to half of their opening angle.
We should also mention that LOOX’s gull-wing doors allow the driver to “squeeze in below the roof" when exiting the car in the rain.
INTERIOR: “Y” SETUP INSIDE THE “X”
Three-seat setup in the shape of the letter “Y” that LOOX adopted as one of the first in the world provides ample room to the driver and the passengers. The driver is seated forward, in the middle of the cabin, and the passengers are seated sideways behind him. Seeing as there are no front seats in front of the passengers, they have the amount of legroom found only in special designs of most luxurious sedans.
The next novelty is the construction of the driver’s seat. Since it is located in the middle of the cabin, it rotates by 90 degrees in the corresponding direction upon entering/exiting the car in order to facilitate sitting down or standing up to the driver. Moreover, LOOX's seats are elevated, a fact which will most certainly be applauded by women, particularly when they drive in their little black dresses; in fact, it will cheer up all of us who do not like to “lie” in low seats.
The driver's seat can be adjusted in several points, and it is shaped in a way that will relieve the body and the spine while driving. Passengers’ seats are shaped similarly, with the difference being that the passengers’ armrests are situated on the side paneling of the cabin. Seat accessories provide for their heating.
Cabin lighting is diffuse, and its color and intensity can be regulated, i.e. programmed as desired, because it was designed using LED technology. Standard equipment also includes electric windows and electrically adjustable rear view mirrors.
ENTERTAINMENT AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
LOOX is equipped with a high-quality RDS radio, Bluetooth communication, a CD player that can play MP3 and other compressed audio files, an USB port, DVD player and a navigation device. Infotainment display, located on the driver’s left side, serves not only for controlling said devices, but also for displaying their content – road maps or videos.
All seats have self-tightening seat belts. LOOX’s cabin has a solid foundation which ensures that, in the event of an accident, the passengers do not become trapped inside its powerful frame. The solid chassis absorbs the bulk of the force of impact and bends if needed, thus deflecting dynamic forces and directing them under the cabin.
In the City and On the Road
NIMBLE, SAFE AND ENERGETIC
We primarily seek nimbleness in a city car. LOOX is exceptional in that. Short, mobile, stable. Electronic power steering and precise controls make it so easy to navigate that even novice drivers can park it without hassle and maneuver it into the smallest available space.
Starting up and driving LOOX is just as easy and simple. Motors are started by pressing a highly precise accelerator pedal, thereby also releasing an electronic parking brake. More specifically, LOOX’s electric motors are directly connected to the wheels and they remain locked until the accelerator is pressed. This greatly facilitates starting up the vehicle on hills or standing on slopes for the driver. Driver assistance also comes in the form of electronic power steering (which consumes power only while actively used), which facilitates turning of the wheels for the driver, even more so as driving is slower, or when the vehicle is stationary.
Features - Enjoying the Silence
Driving LOOX while traveling down the road is a special experience. Its powerful and very precise electric motors are virtually silent. The only thing your ears will pick up in the cabin is the faint, clear “sound of electricity” – the precise buzzing of the electric motor’s rotor, blending in with the sound of tires. Therefore, if you are listening to the radio or a CD very quietly while driving, you will have the impression that you are driving a silent vehicle.
The experience of actively driving LOOX is captivating in every respect. The feeling of its powerful acceleration is intense, and it is achieved evenly, without any jolts, which makes it especially exciting. Simply put, LOOX “glues” you to the back of your seat just as easily when you are accelerating from 0 to 20 km/h as for example when you are accelerating from 60 to 80 km/h! For LOOX has a torque of 360 Nm – even at 0 rpm. Credit for that goes to extremely precise electric motors like the ones used by computer-controlled machine tools that measure their work in millimeters. That is why LOOX is on equal footing with “upper-class” cars on fast city roads, bypasses and motorways, and many of its characteristics are even superior to theirs. With regard to acceleration (0-100 km/h in 8 seconds), its only equals are sports cars with prominent sports features (which we rarely encounter), while its maximum speed, which is electronically limited to a theoretical 130 km/h, (in practice it will probably amount to 135 km/h) meets all safe traffic requirements.
DUAL BRAKING SYSTEM IN LOOX
In LOOX, braking is performed in two ways. Most of the deceleration is achieved by the electrical regenerative braking system that returns most of the electrical energy used for acceleration back to the batteries. Such deceleration is achieved while driving by simply depressing or completely releasing the accelerator pedal (so it might be better to name LOOX's accelerator pedal the “accelerator-retarder”). ABS brakes (whose hydraulic system is powered by a separate electric motor) assist in more powerful braking and provide LOOX’s driver with additional security because this dual braking system reduces the total braking distance.
ACTIVE SAFETY - POWER CONTROLLED BY INTELLIGENT ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS
LOOX was planned as a vehicle with an independent four-wheel drive (customers will be able to pick between that design and design with front-or rear-wheel drive). This, along with 17-inch wheels and independent suspension, all on a sports chassis with a low center of gravity provides LOOX with great stability and driving safety – which are the characteristics typical of a sports car. However, seeing as in urban driving conditions we often do not need that level of performance, drivers can electronically control LOOX’s acceleration by selecting the “economic” driving mode (the most suitable one for the standard “stop-start” urban driving) or the “sports” mode when maximum vehicle performance is at their disposal. That is why during normal urban driving LOOX can travel up to 250 km on a single battery charge.
Integrated electronic stability system, which was developed by DOK-ING like all other computer functions of LOOX, takes care of active safety in LOOX. It merges the largest number of known electronic security functions of present-day sophisticated vehicles into one and combines them with the functions of computer-controlled electric motors on drive wheels. Thus, for example, correcting the vehicle when it is leaning in the curve is no longer performed by braking on a specific wheel, but by accelerating it, which is much more efficient, and therefore safer.
Batteries on LOOX: Powerful, Safe and Long-lasting
Safety and reliability in LOOX are ensured by its built-in batteries featuring latest technology: lithium-iron-phosphate. They are non-flammable and warm up less than others. Their charging time via standard home outlets (220 V) depends on current flow strength (measured in amperes). On the standard one which is controlled via 10-16 amp fuse, charging the battery to its full capacity will last for about 11 hours, and the most common type of charging – from 20-30% of the capacity to 80% of the capacity – will last only 3-4 hours. Charging LOOX’s batteries using a “twice stronger socket” – a 32-amp power source – will take twice less time.
LOOX has been made to last and features an excellent return on investment – the cost of its power consumption equals the price per liter of petrol for 100 km.
LOOX’s batteries are very durable and their effectiveness is guaranteed for at least 150,000 km. If we take into account that most city drivers do not travel more than 250 km per week, this means that LOOX’s batteries will serve them for 10 years – and the power consumption for their charging will amount to about HRK 7 per 100 km (according to the current “night tariff” price of electricity in Croatia).
Therefore, a very simple calculation suggests that an electric city car such as LOOX provides a fast return on investment and that it is ultimately cheaper. Conducive to that are reduced service intervals and the fact that it has a minimum number of mechanical parts – which makes servicing it significantly cheaper. Additionally, an increasing number of countries have reduced registration costs for electric vehicles, and more and more cities do not charge parking for electric cars.
Retouching LOOX’s prototype and customizing it for possible mass production will take at least another year. The majority of design tasks will pertain to the development of an all-wheel drive, so that in the future customers will be able to choose whether they want the version of LOOX featuring the front or rear-wheel drive, i.e. four-wheel drive. When it enters serial production, LOOX should become an all-round Croatian product.
Number of seats: 3
Number of doors: 3, incl. rear hatch
Length: 2900 mm
Width: 1700 mm
Height: 1600 mm
Motor: Electric AC brushless
Batteries: Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFeP04), 32 kWh
Net vehicle weight: 1350 kg
Power: 90 kW
Torque (0 rpm): 360 Nm
Top speed: 130 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 8 seconds
Range: 200-250 km
Driving mode: Economic - Sport
Consumption: 0.12 kW/km
Air-conditioning: Automatic + electric ventilation and heating
Seat belts: 3 points, incorporated in seats
Stability Program: Integral Electronic
Steering: Electronic servo
Brakes: Electro-regenerative, electronic parking brake
Infotainment: Stereo radio, RDS, CD/MP3, DVD, Bluetooth, Navigation
Options: FWD, electromagnetic suspension, leather seats…