Olympic Champion Usain Bolt has launched a new two-seater, all-electric vehicle. The micro-car, dubbed the Bolt Nano, has a swappable battery and seats one passenger in the front and one in the back.
“The cities that we have today are the same ones that have been there for centuries, and they’re not made for this many cars,” said Sarah Haynes, co-founder of Bolt’s startup company Bolt Mobility. “[There’s a] big, big appetite for finding solutions for transportation issues.”
The Bolt Nano was unveiled at the VivaTech conference in Paris in light of the influx of ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and scooter-sharing companies that have been taking over the streets of major metropolitan areas.
The rise of ride-sharing and vehicle-alternatives is mostly due to traffic congestion and the difficulty of navigating city streets. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, about 5.9 million commercial vehicles are in operation in the U.S. and up to 77% of vehicles on the road right now need some type of maintenance or repairs.
In just the last five years, even the number of vehicles in the Armored Transportation Services has jumped by 2.8%.
With all these vehicles on the road, it’s no wonder the average American driver will spend 42 hours in traffic per year and lose $1,400 in gas just by idling. But it isn’t just traffic that’s a major issue in big cities. Parking is also a problem.
The average driver spends approximately 17 hours a year searching for a parking spot, and they spend approximately $345 annually in wasted time, fuel, and emissions. In the nation’s largest cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, a driver might spend even more time looking for a place to park.
That’s where the Bolt Nano comes in. According to Bolt Mobility, the zero-emission mini vehicle is small enough that four of them can fit into a single parking space.
Bolt will also be launching an app soon after the vehicle’s release, which will allow owners to car share as a part of Bolt’s “micro-mobility” mission to transform urban transport.
“Through its portfolio of micro-mobility products, Bolt Mobility fulfills the dream that many of us share,” said Bolt, “to operate in a world where our vehicles will fit perfectly into the fabric of our urban environments while respecting the air we breathe.”
Zero-emission, all-electric vehicles are more important than ever. There’s been an 81% increase in the registration of new vehicles between 2017 and 2018 in California, but planet-heating pollution from other transportation has continued to climb.
Transportation pollution makes up half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions and 33% of New York’s. Bolt hopes his company and his new vehicle will help to reduce urban congestion and minimize the environmental footprint of travel.
The Bolt Nano may also be able to help New York stay in line with the 2019 New York State Ambient Air Monitoring Program, which serves as the latest ambient air monitoring network for air contaminants in the state.
More information has yet to be released about the Bolt Nano. However, the cost of the vehicle is approximately $10,000.