At the Geneva International Motor Show, Magna Steyr, a maker of automotive parts, illustrated what its Mila automotive platform can offer to car makers: Magna Steyr would build a car's innards, with a car maker then slapping on a body shell and badges.
Mila is designed as a flexible platform for the manufacturing of either electric or hybrid cars, allowing car manufacturers to market their own green cars without having to do years of costly research.
With its 67hp electric motor and 10kW battery pack, Mila-based cars have an electric range of only 32 miles, and accelerating to 62mph takes a whopping 17 seconds. With a gas engine added to work as a generator, Magna Steyr says the Mila will go 174 miles.
The Mila's hybrid system can drive the car either under electric power only; as a series hybrid, with the gas engine recharging the batteries; or as a parallel hybrid, with the gas engine sending power directly to the wheels for speeds of more than 44mph.
At least one component of Mila should prove attractive to car makers: the battery (pictured right). Magna Steyr has designed a lithium-ion battery module with built-in software for load balancing and power control. The modules can be combined into a battery pack and will work seamlessly together, providing electricity for the vehicle without overheating or overusing a single module.
Although the Mila platform hasn't been licensed specifically, Ford has already signed a deal with Magna Steyr to provide an electric power train for a vehicle to be launched in the US in 2011. The deal specifies a small car powered by a single electric motor, with a single-speed transmission. Range will be approximately 100 miles.