With a grinning grill, the Peapod "car" awaits customer orders, starting April 22. The Peapod is a member of the growing class of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), handy for packed city traffic, college campus jaunts, or for short neighborhood treks. The quirky ride tops out at 25 mph -- the official speed limit for NEVs.
The car is a product of a Peapod Mobility, a spun-off division of Chrysler subsidiary GEM, which has been producing small electric vehicles for 10 years. GEM has had strong sales in retirement communities and college campuses.
Peter E. Arnell, who designed the new Pepsi logo (which purportedly is supposed to represent a grinning face), is the company's director and brand guru, which perhaps explains the weirdness attached to the vehicle. Not only bulbous, the car is a real eye catcher with a clear smile complete with headlights on the vehicle's bumper. The smiling theme is repeated inside the car.
The car, according to Mr. Arnell was inspired by "Japanese bullet trains, storm troopers from the film Star Wars, space helmets and turtles."
The car retails for $12,500. It comes with some cool computerized perks -- it reports the carbon and gas money savings from each trip, once you arrive home.
Interestingly, Mr. Arnell defiantly refuses to have his vehicle referred to as a NEV, despite that being what the National Highway Transportation Safety board calls it. He calls it a "Mobi", a new brand name he dreamed up. He imagines the brand replacing the term NEV, much as "SUVs" replaced the term 4x4.
Interestingly, the WIRED story reported that the Peapod will “require” an iPod to start up. This, understandably, caused some confusion and prompted angry retorts in the comments below. However, this post from Engadget makes it clear that you certainly have the option of just using a plain old key.
The vehicle will be heavily marketed to urban green commuters and to college students. Pod pickers will see their little Peapods arrive in October… just in time for Halloween.
written by Lysh, April 22, 2009
written by Laurie, April 22, 2009
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written by David Burch, April 25, 2009
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