Cars > Peek

My name is Luka and you haven’t seen me before

A retro-looking electric car from the Czech Republic

It's like a stouter Karmann Ghia from this angle. PHOTO FROM MW MOTORS

Ask someone to name a carmaker from the Czech Republic, and the answer will almost inevitably be Skoda, but a new company called MW Motors is trying to change that in electrifying fashion. Very befitting for a country that gave the world Eva Herzigova and Karolina Kurkova, MW’s first model, simply called Luka, is quite a stunner, mixing old-school lines with modern technology in an attempt to create an electric car that is hard to resist.

You have to mind what you wear if this is your car. PHOTOS FROM MW MOTORS

What began as a project during a hackathon in 2015 is now getting close to becoming a production car, with the team behind the Luka enthusiastically pointing out that the vehicle is not a mere digital concept, but a real and working EV. The Luka is powered by four in-wheel hub motors that produce a combined output of 66hp, so one may be forgiven for thinking that the visually pleasing ride won’t be able to live up to its dashing design when it comes to street performance. To avoid any disappointment in this department, MW Motors’ engineers have put the sporty two-seater on a supermodel-worthy diet by giving it an aluminum-alloy chassis and a fiber-reinforced plastic body, resulting in a target curb weight of just 815kg.

This EV may be underpowered, but it's also light. PHOTOS FROM MW MOTORS

The 0-100km/h time is given as 9.6 seconds, which may not be earth-shattering but at least gives onlookers a better chance to take in the beautiful styling of this retro cruiser as it pulls away from the line toward its top speed of 146km/h. With a front that’s reminiscent of a Karmann Ghia, and a rear combining DB4-esque fenders with a Wiesmann-like trunk, the Luka pulls off a well-balanced old-meets-new appearance. Power is stored in a 21.9kWh battery pack that promises to be good for 300km of driving. Charging of the 4,050mm-long two-door coupe can be done with domestic-strength juice in nine hours, or with a fast charger that pumps in 80% of total capacity in just one hour.

We think retro-styled electric cars will be a trend. PHOTOS FROM MW MOTORS

MW Motors is aiming to sell the Luka for around €30,000 (P1,926,000), excluding VAT, once it reaches mass production, which could take a while as the company needs to complete a number of tests before the electric car can officially be sold in Europe and driven on roads around the world.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.