It all began with range anxiety. Humble Motors’ Founder, Dima Steesy, previously had a Tesla Model S. However, there was no EV charger at his apartment building in Los Angeles.
“I was constantly concerned about how much range I had left. Because of the lengthy time required to charge and the fact that people in LA love to charge their Tesla while running errands like grocery shopping or sitting down for lunch, the few charge stations I could find within 15 miles all had long wait lines. This prompted me to begin looking into a tonneau or something similar that could cover my roof when I wasn’t driving to extend the battery’s range,” explains Steesy.
“That search started me down the rabbit hole of realizing that a fully solar-powered car would be preferable to a solar roof aftermarket car part. I found a group of similarly minded people who felt ‘called’ to our mission of creating more sustainable and self-sufficient electric vehicles and this is how Humble got its start,” he adds.
Steesy’s California-based electric vehicle start-up has just revealed its new concept SUV with a solar roof design, called the Humble One.
The EV’s roof is made of engineered photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and transform it into energy. This generates enough electrical power to increase driving range by nearly 60 miles a day.
“The Humble One concept SUV has over 80 square feet of automotive-integrated photovoltaics, electricity-generating sidelites, peer-to-peer charging, regenerative braking, and fold-out solar array ‘wings’ for when the SUV is parked. To be clear, this is a concept SUV; we do not have a working prototype, and all specifications are calculations that have not been tested.”
“Our hypothesis is that the Humble One’s range could be increased by 10-60 miles per day (depending on where it is driven) as a result of the technological innovations we hope to incorporate,” says Steesy.
Driving With The Sun on Your Back
The Humble One is 198 inches long, or just a little longer than a Toyota Corolla. It is shorter than the Tesla Cybertruck, and the weight, at 4,000 pounds, is fifteen hundred pounds lighter. It’s been engineered to be as lightweight as possible while also fitting four people.
Steesy says solar-powered vehicles have several distinct advantages over pure electric vehicles. For example, we get 85 percent of our electricity from non-renewable fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal.
“While switching from an internal combustion engine vehicle to an electric vehicle makes a difference, it is not as self-sufficient or sustainable as it could be if the electricity for your charge station is still generated by fossil fuels. We need to address carbon neutrality in the automotive industry, and the EVs on the market today are not doing so,” he says.
“The second issue is that the world is struggling to build the charging infrastructure required for electric vehicles. According to some estimates, there will be 3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. And according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, approximately 1400 charging stations will need to be installed every day in California alone to supply the energy required to sustain all of the new EVs.”
“Long-distance EV travel is currently not possible without multiple stops at charging stations. Many areas (even in the United States, let alone the rest of the world) lack charging stations, and even when they do exist, charging the battery can take several hours. Existing solutions to these issues, such as building more charging stations, increasing battery capacity, and road-charging, have not been shown to be efficient thus far,” explains Steesy.
“Solar-powered EVs ‘leapfrog’ the grid and allow people to travel an unprecedented distance without stopping at a charger station, using what is available in all parts of the world: the sun,” he adds.
No one wants a ‘Dude, where’s my car?’ disaster. So we’ll be as honest as we can.
So far, Humble Motors has received 235 reservations. Humble requires a minimum of $300 to ‘reserve’, which holds the reservation holder’s place in line for when manufacturing begins in 2024.
“These are not orders and are non-binding and refundable. Once we are closer to the start of manufacturing, we will invite reservation holders to convert their reservation to an order. The Humble One’s calculated cost is $109,000, so I believe media outlets have multiplied 235 by $109,000 to arrive at the $20 million figure for reserved pre-orders.”
Humble Motors is obviously in the very early stages of development and has many challenges ahead as it moves towards full manufacturing of the Humble One by 2024.
“As our name and philosophy suggest, we value transparency and humility, and we will be open and honest about our progress with our reservation holders, as well as be upfront when we do not meet milestones. No one wants a ‘Dude, where’s my car?’ disaster. So we’ll be as honest as we can, and are eager to test our calculations and build this,” promises Steesy.
Steesy says there’s a lot of really exciting stuff going on in the field of mobility. So we asked him what urban mobility will look like by the end of the decade.
“One of the most noticeable changes I believe we’ll see in 2030 is a mind-boggling increase in the number of EVs on the road. These will be more than just Teslas and Lucids (and hopefully Humbles!). I believe that nearly every legacy automaker such as Ford and GM also will stop selling ICEs and will transition to all-EVs. According to estimates I’ve seen, there will be close to 17 million EVs on the road in the United States by 2030, up from only about 1.5 million today.”
“Elon Musk’s Boring Company is also doing some very exciting work. I believe Musk is, as usual, foresighted, and that high-speed underground transportation systems and hyperloops will be among the most significant technological innovations for urban public transportation,” concludes Steesy.