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Matra UV community electric car

The Matra UV concept electric car is based on the GEM neighborhood electric vehicle from America, but boosts a more powerful motor and battery pack.

Matra's GEM of an Electric Car

A French Makeover of World's Most Popular Neighborhood Electric Car

By EV World

If the Matra UV concept electric car looks just a tad familiar with its distinctive egg-shaped steel tube passenger enclosure, you'd be correct in assuming its North Dakota-evolved DNA.

The French conglomerate, whose name is an acronym for Mécanique Avion Traction, has interests in automobiles, aeronautics and weapons systems; and is licensed to assembly GEM neighborhood electric vehicles in Europe.

While GEM in the United States was changing its name to GreenEcoMobility and rolling out its Peapod concept car, Matra was giving their version of a face lift.

The reworked Matra GEM -- called the UV -- sports a more powerful 10hp (7kW) electric motor and lithium ion batteries that give it up to 150 km driving range, nearly four times the range of the lead-acid models. Top speed is now pegged at 60km/hr (37mph), which is a good 12 mph faster than the current speed-restricted version in America.

Embedded into the roof of the vehicle are solar panels that the company advises will add 5 km driving range to the vehicle. In addition to the drive train and styling changes, the UV on display at the Paris Auto Show also carried a pair of prototype Matra Sport folding electric bicycles.

The UV is not intended to be sold commercially, but only to serve as a technology demonstrator, according to French reports.

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