UK Start-Up Helixx Pioneers Concept for Affordable Electric Vehicles

In an innovative stride, UK-based start-up Helixx announced on Monday its plan to use Siemens’ open digital platform. The aim? To create a unique, highly automated ‘factory in a box’ that can be assembled anywhere to produce smaller, low-cost electric vehicles (EVs). These EVs are primarily targeted towards large Asian cities.

‘Factory in a Box’: An Industry First

The ‘factory in a box’ concept has already won favour in the pharmaceutical sector, which leveraged it to overcome supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the auto industry is gearing up for its first adoption of the method, led by Helixx and Siemens.

Using Siemens Xcelerator’s ‘digital twin’ technology, Helixx will design the factory and map out supply chain necessities. The collaboration between these two firms marks a new era of automobile manufacturing.

A White-Label Solution for EV Production

Helixx CEO, Steve Pegg, revealed to Reuters that the company has plans to introduce a “white label” licensed factory model. It will provide a platform for both existing carmakers and new entrants to build EVs under their own brands.

While a few EV start-ups have opted for contract manufacturers, akin to Fisker’s alliance with Magna and Foxconn, the concept of offering a factory and “white label” EV designs to clients stands as a fresh proposition in the market.

Pegg drew a parallel to the global fast-food giant, stating, “We have reimagined the way the vehicles go together so you can get a factory producing vehicles anywhere in the world, just like a McDonald’s franchise.”

Four Models for a Diverse Market

Helixx announced that its novel factory model would initially roll out four EV models: a delivery van, a pickup truck, a “Tuk” (a four-wheeled adaptation of a motorised rickshaw), and a passenger van. These models cater predominantly to the needs of bustling Asian cities.

Helixx plans to manufacture its first 200 prototypes in the UK by 2024. By 2025, the start-up aims to produce 10,000 EVs annually at pilot facilities in Britain and Singapore.

To date, Helixx has secured around £1 million ($1.3 million [approx. £980,000]) in funding. Pegg estimates that constructing its prototype fleet will necessitate an additional investment of about £3 million ($3.9 million [approx. £2.94 million]). This start-up’s ambitious endeavour holds the potential to revolutionise the EV market, making sustainable transport more accessible on a global scale.