EXPERTS at CAP Automotive are puzzling over how to publish essential details of a vehicle – claimed by its makers to be “the most environmentally friendly car in the world” – because it is powered by air.
Weighing in at just 400kg, the Yúrén Wind, built by the Shanghai-based Yúrén Automobile Co – and poised for UK launch this Summer – is built from ultra-tough resin-impregnated recycled paper and cardboard on a lightweight aluminium chassis and powered by a compressed air motor.
The problem lies in the fact that every car needs a code assigned to it by CAP, the independent publishers of valuation and technical information on all vehicles available in the UK – but CAP is currently unable to assign one to the Yúrén Wind.
The CAP Code is a string of characters that uniquely describes any vehicle so it can be included in databases, computer systems and websites for automotive professionals and motorists across Britain. Over 60,000 unique CAP Codes have been assigned by CAP since the Code was introduced by the business in 1982.
However, the current format of the CAP Code cannot record compressed air as a fuel type or indicate any passenger safety rating for a cardboard body. Other essential details are also unrecordable, leaving the Yúrén Wind with a half-complete code.
CAP is now in talks with the manufacturer, who fear the car could be a commercial failure without a CAP Code.
Resolving this will be critical for Yúrén because the CAP Code enables motor dealers, company car providers and websites for motorists to publish accurate details on every aspect of a vehicle, ranging from list price, fuel consumption, available options and colours to transmission type and CO2 output. Without a code, the Wind therefore has little chance of reaching a wide commercial audience.
But the Yúrén Wind has CAP’s Code experts baffled because it is the first time they have ever encountered cardboard and air as essential technical specifications.
CAP’s David Saville – who oversees the assigning of around 365 fresh CAP Codes to new cars every month – said: “The new car market has seen a great deal of innovation in recent years and we have always managed to keep the CAP Code up to speed with developments like hybrid fuel types and electric vehicles.
“But this is the first time we have ever come across compressed air as a fuel type and it poses a number of challenges to our code format. For example, we cannot assign an engine capacity, a fuel type or the fuel delivery system. Assigning an MPG figure is also a problem.
“We are hopeful we can overcome these problems because, at a time when economical motoring is more important than ever before, 4 wheeled transport with doors and windows for £3,995 is likely to be a winning proposition – if only we can find a way to describe it properly for the market.
CAP’s Manufacturer Relationships Manager, Martin Ward, is liaising with Yúrén Automobile Corporation officials after test driving the car. In his regular ‘First Drive Impressions’ column published on cap.co.uk he describes the as “surprisingly quick and very quiet.”