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Looking to buy an electric car? Nobe 100 could be the solution for you

There is a new electric car company on the rise! No, it’s not Tesla, it’s Nobe.

7 min read
© Ints Kalnins

It’s a company hoping to produce a three-wheeled electric car by 2020 called the Nobe 100. Nobe’s CEO Roman Muljar wants the car to become a modern classic. 

  © Ilmar Saabas

The brand name Nobe actually has a meaning in Estonian: quick, nimble and agile. And that they have been. During the summer, the company has managed to attract the attention of crowdfunders through the platform FundedByMe, raising over 260% of the desired investment.

A car that you can upgrade

The idea for the car came three years ago when Muljar’s friend built a three-wheeled scooter. After completion they decided it should be electric, have seats and have a classic design. New generations of the car will have updated motors, batteries and electronics but the design is intended to stay the same and be in production for 50 years.

Everything is ready right now, at least on paper. Design has been the most difficult part but after finding the right person the CEO was thrilled. Muljar has said that, when not considering the design, the most difficult part has been financing the idea. According to the CEO, investors are eager to invest in startups developing tech products and apps but an electric car company does not excite them as much.

That’s why Nobe decided to use a crowdfunding platform where investors can back the project. To be able to pre-order a vehicle you had to invest at least 4700 euros. For the really eager ones there was an opportunity to invest 9500 euros, which ensured that you could be one of the first 10 owners of a Nobe 100.

As of the writing of this article, the company has managed to exceed the initial goal by 260% and the campaign is still active with just under two weeks to go.

  © Ints Kalnins

The price of the final production car is intended to be around 30 000 euros. As stated earlier, the customer can upgrade the internals of the car whenever he or she decides to do so. After the lifetime of older parts has ended they can be recycled at the Nobe production facility.

Nobe 100’s maximum speed is expected to be around 110km/h and the range of the battery is 220 km. The car will be sold at various retail outlets including electronics stores. Production is expected to take place in Tallinn, Estonia.

Finnish tech investor Peter Vesterbacka joined Nobe

A sign of recognition for the company came from over the Gulf of Finland. Former brand ambassador to Angry Birds, or Mighty Eagle as they called him, Peter Vesterbacka announced he will be joining the company as a marketing and brand advisor. Vesterbacka praised the design of the car stating that electric cars don’t need to be dull.

In addition, Vesterbacka sees the possibility to upgrade parts of the car as a big opportunity. Joining Nobe has been one of the most modest and down to earth decisions he has made. Vesterbacka is known in the area as a guy with really ambitious ideas.

This January he announced his plan to dig a tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki. The idea is not new and both governments have been flirting with it for a long time. Vesterbacka said he can’t wait any longer and wanted to crack on with the idea. According to him, the tunnel will be ready by the 24th of December 2024, so just four years shy of the first Nobe 100 cars.

The team consists of engineers, software developers and a Russian language teacher

The team behind Nobe consists mainly of people that have graduated or are studying at Tallinn University of Technology. Not to underestimate other members, the most interesting being the CEO Roman Muljar himself, co-founder Meelis Merilo and an un-named designer. Muljar is one of the few at Nobe without an engineering degree, by profession he is a Russian language teacher.

Co-founder Merilo has the most knowledge in building electric cars, the Nobe 100 is based on his ZEV Elve three-wheeled, car-looking scooter. He got into electric cars by converting an old Soviet era GAZ-M20 Pobeda into an electric car back in 2006. With the same Pobeda he managed to finish second in an all-electric car rally from Tallinn to Monaco a few years back. Merilo himself has been toying with the idea of a world class electric sports car – the ZEV 581C.

Muljar is most secretive of the designer. He has yet to mention the name of the person but he has been heard saying that the designer is an Estonian that has worked in the car industry in central Europe for many years.

By description the designer could be Björn Koop – he assured that he has had no involvement with Nobe but knows the person in question. After graduating from the Estonian Academy of Arts, Koop joined the Korean carmaker KIA as a designer. Due to this he has great knowledge of how the industry works but states that he can’t disclose the designers name without the permission of both of parties.

Koop also couldn’t answer any questions regarding his work at KIA. Asked if we can see any KIA cars he has designed on the roads today, Koop said he has signed legal contracts stating that the lead designer of KIA has designed the cars he has worked on and according to those documents he has no legal rights to the designs – all industry standards.

Self-driving bus, e-formula, the world’s fastest car and an electric carriage – made by Estonians

There are not a lot of Estonian companies that are vital to the car industry. For most of the companies, even for Nobe, the roots can be traced back to Formula Student Team Tallinn (FS Team Tallinn), run by students from Tallinn Technical University and the University of Applied Sciences. Every year, the students are tasked to form teams to engineer, develop, market, build and race a formula race car. Right now, the team is working on a self-driving version of the car.

A large number of FS Team Tallinn alumni have ended up working in the car industry or related companies. One of the prominent examples is Swedish high-performance sports car brand Koenigsegg. Throughout the years there have been many Estonians working at Koenigsegg, the first were hired back in 2012.

Most famously, a group of six Estonians had an integral role in the development of the Koenigsegg Regera. The cars price tag sits around 2 million euros and only 80 units will be built. The limited production car is a plug-in hybrid sports car or rather a hypercar.

If you happen to drive one of the rare Regeras you can thank the guys who built the chassis, the seats, composite details, aerodynamics, suspension and engineering – all of which were at least in part built by former FS Team Tallinn members. At one point, the Regera held the title for the world fastest car, only to be beaten by the sportier Koenigsegg Agera RS.

Coming back to Tallinn Technical University, we find ourselves in a garage where yet another vehicle has been made, this time it’s an electric self-driving bus. Unlike the Nobe, the bus is ready and has been shown to the public, the first public demonstration will take place in early September on the university’s campus.

Swedish telecom Telia has had an interest in the bus and is testing out it’s 5G network solutions, which could later be deployed in commercial self-driving cars. Swiss-Swedish high-tech engineering corporation ABB is testing its new battery charging technologies on the bus.

Unusual, uncommon and unconventional are the words that describe these electrical car-bus combination vehicles. A few years ago, entrepreneur Jüri Tamm introduced Synchronous to the world. It looks like a horse-drawn carriage sans horses. His vision was to have the vehicles roaming around Monaco as a form of public transportation. His vision has yet to be fulfilled. Tamm’s fairytale-looking vehicle is built in the Ukraine where he has lived for about 20 years now. He is the Honorary Consul of Monaco in Estonia.

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