ElectricBrands, the German startup behind the intriguing XBUS EV, has defied the odds in a startup landscape where ninety percent of ventures falter within the first three years. While the road to success has been far from smooth, the company is determined to break the mold by bringing its modular minivan to market, despite facing delays that have pushed its launch date to late 2024 or early 2025.
Although ElectricBrands technically celebrated its sixth anniversary, surpassing the perilous three-year threshold for startups, co-CEO Max Brandt remains resolute in his commitment to delivering the diminutive van to consumers. Brandt is quick to dispel concerns about the project's well-being, citing the example of Volvo's postponement of the EX90 as evidence that even major OEMs experience shifting timelines.
Since its initial unveiling in 2020, ElectricBrands has made significant modifications to the compact 143-inch (3,640 mm) XBUS, with a particular focus on enhancing its modularity. The XBUS stands out with its unique selling point of offering ten modular and interchangeable body options, allowing it to transform from a passenger van into various configurations, including a panel van, box van, pickup, wagon pickup, convertible, or miniature motorhome.
Moreover, all XBUS variants are available in an off-road specification, featuring all-terrain tires, increased ground clearance, and all-wheel drive capabilities. For those seeking extended range beyond the standard 124-mile (200 km) electric range provided by the 10 kWh battery, ElectricBrands offers an upgrade option to a 30 kWh pack, boasting an impressive 373-mile (600 km) range. This remarkable efficiency is achieved thanks to the XBUS's remarkably low curb weight of just 1,322 lbs (600 kg) while maintaining a power output of 75 hp (56 kW / 76 PS) from its four hub motors, delivering an impressive 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque.
Furthermore, ElectricBrands has implemented strategic changes aimed at reducing production costs. These measures are aimed at ensuring that the XBUS can be offered at prices close to the original estimates, despite the setbacks. In 2021, the company indicated that pricing in Germany would start from €18,070 ($21,431) for the most affordable LCV derivative, rising to €32,370 ($38,392) for the off-road camper version.
The XBUS and its sibling, the Evetta, an electric reinterpretation of the classic BMW Isetta bubble car, will be manufactured at VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. This contract manufacturing firm, known for building various BMW models, including the X1, has become a key partner in ElectricBrands' ambitious venture.