Motorcycles are agile but don’t have the conveniences a car offers. Cars have roofs, storage space, and are more stable, but they aren’t as compact as motorcycles. Granstudio’s vision for Komma, a Swiss-based mobility startup, was to blur the line between the two. The Komma UMV is unique in that it borrows the best bits from a car and a motorcycle. For all intents and purposes, it looks and feels like a car, with four wheels, a roof, doors, and even a boot to store luggage. However, it’s no wider than a motorcycle, making it 80% smaller than most cars, run on 66% less energy, and have all the safety features of a car, from seatbelts to airbags.
The Komma UMV is entirely a new category of vehicle, borrowing the best bits from cars, motorbikes, ATVs, and even the Asian TukTuks. It prioritizes efficiency without compromising on mobility and rider comfort, and when it does make trade-offs, it does so in a way that really feels like features. For example, it might be smaller than a car, but its slim format allows it to weave between traffic and park in even the tightest spaces without breaking a sweat.
“In the studio, we focus on both designing cars and developing mobility plans for future cities. However, when we try to combine these two aspects, something doesn’t quite fit,” say the designers at GranStudio “This is particularly evident in Europe, where it is clear that the ideal city we envision for the future prioritizes the quality of public spaces and community values. It is a city where cars do not naturally belong and are out of context.”
In scaling the car down to this two-seater format, the math adds up to some real savings for both the rider and the planet. The Komma UMV is 80% smaller than your average car and has a 70% reduced ecological footprint. It consumes 66% less energy than a car, which translates to 70% lower operational and fuel costs than your regular gas-powered vehicle. All that really makes a difference in the grand scheme of things, making the Komma UMV perfect for single-person or two-person rides.
That being said, the UMV has all the benefits of a car. It runs on four wheels that employ a unique hydraulic tilting system for stability, but also enable tighter turns, just like a motorcycle. You’ve got a 4WD system, suspension, anti-collision protocols, and an anti-lock braking system. The car also comes with doors, a roof, seatbelts, airbags, and its occupants don’t need helmets. The windshield has airbags, and the UMV has storage space in both the front as well as the boot, offering much more storage space than a two-wheeler. Given its width constraint and hydraulic tilting system, it uses handlebars, which seem to be the only actual remnant left behind from the motorcycling world, along with the seating format where the passenger sits right behind the rider.
Komma offers a transformative vision for urban environments, placing a strong emphasis on enhancing the quality of public spaces and nurturing community values. By reducing the dominance of automobiles (or at least the space occupied by them), Komma paves the way for a more harmonious coexistence with nature, creating abundant room for leisure pursuits, and fostering vibrant social interactions. This shift in perspective not only redefines the city but also revitalizes it, making it a place where people and nature thrive together.