Kulan Electric Utility Concept: Simple 'Donkey' Vehicle For Parks, Farmers


Poly-lab.net Kulan electric vehicle

Poly-lab.net Kulan electric vehicle

Naming an electric car after a donkey would normally seem like an odd choice, but this isn't exactly a car.

The Kulan gets its name from a donkey native to Central Asia and, like its namesake, this electric vehicle is a beast of burden.

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Its creators hail not from Central Asia but Germany, and hope to put the concept vehicle into production for use on farms and in other similar applications.

Also shown at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover earlier this year, the Kulan was designed by a consortium of 14 companies and research organizations--according to CarsGuide--operating under the umbrella of Poly-lab.net.

Poly-lab.net Kulan electric vehicle

Poly-lab.net Kulan electric vehicle

The vehicle is powered by a pair of 2-kilowatt electric motors--one in each rear-wheel hub--and a lithium-ion battery pack.

The chassis is made from tube steel, while the somewhat minimal bodywork is made from plastic to save weight.

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With just over 5 horsepower to muster from the two motors, the Kulan has a top speed of just 31 mph, but a claimed range of 186 miles--or six hours of continuous operation per charge.

It can also carry just over 1 ton of cargo, which potential users will likely view as more important than speed anyway.

Speaking to BBC Autos earlier this year, Poly-lab.net network manager Marcus Knobloch explained that the Kulan was designed for transporting loads around farms.

Poly-lab.net Kulan electric vehicle

Poly-lab.net Kulan electric vehicle

In addition to cutting emissions, the near-silent electric powertrain would likely minimize disturbance to farm animals.

The lack of exhaust emissions and noise could also make the Kulan useful in other applications where internal-combustion vehicles aren't ideal--such as parks or inside large warehouses.

Whether it ultimately goes into production or not, the Kulan is a curious example of how electric powertrains can be applied beyond the realm of cars.

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