Never really got off the ground: the Swedish electric car One.
Plants that never existed, dubious reservations – and a fake car, too. Uniti had a lot going for it.
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Tesla is proof that smart ideas, a dazzling CEO and a lot of venture capital can turn into a major global automaker. The meteoric rise of the U.S. company has spawned a number of imitators and start-ups that have attracted a lot of attention and often a lot of media attention with interesting concepts, charismatic minds and excitingly styled cars. But almost as many of these newcomers have now disappeared from the scene without a trace.
Uniti One may not come to fruition
The Swedish company Uniti, which caused a sensation in 2017 with the electric miracle car One, will probably soon be able to count itself among this growing circle. A report by investigative journalists from the Swedish magazine Filter article now published suggests Uniti may be further than ever from ever realizing the One’s production build, originally announced for 2019.
Apart from a show car of the One, a small electric car in Smart format, the company founded by Australian-born Lewis Horne has so far failed to provide evidence of its plans, which sound bizarrely grandiose from today’s perspective. The “Filter”-Report lists some of the ambitious goals, which are obviously castles in the air. This is how the “factory 4.0” in Landskrona, Sweden, which should have been built with Siemens and equipped with Kuka robots, simply does not.
From the 300.000 cars announced for 2020, not a single one has been built yet. More plants and many jobs in Silverstone, England, India and Georgia? Missing. Even the pre-order volume worth 50 million euros seems to be worth little, because behind it there are only 3.500 non-binding reservations for which a fee of 149 euros was charged. Especially brazen: In the case of the Uniti car unveiled to 2021 investors “0” According to the report, the vehicle in question is actually the electric Zhidou D3, which was imported from China and merely redesigned with new paint and a new bumper for the presentation.
“He thinks he is Elon Musk”
Uniti CEO Horne has already admitted to problems due to the Corona pandemic as well as financial shortages in a Linkedin post at the end of 2021. Meanwhile, the Uniti team is said to have shrunk considerably in terms of personnel. Filter magazine’s cover story, published in Swedish over 15 pages, also quotes former Uniti employees with unflattering statements about the company’s CEO.
A former manager of the start-ups says about Lewis Horne: “He thinks he is Elon Musk, but he is just a fraud, he has no idea about cars.” The former PR manager of Uniti explains the hype around the start-up with the charisma of the company’s founder: “Lewis could sell you a pencil for a million dollars.”