Canada is not a country known for its automakers, to say the least. Some international companies have plants there, including Detroit’s Big Three, but as far as domestically designed and wholly-manufactured production vehicles go, our neighbors in the north have none. A new Canadian EV startup called AK Motor International revealed a concept car today with the goal of changing that, calling on us to “imagine an automobile from a land that is as rugged as it is beautiful” called the Maple Majestic. Yes, really. But unfortunately you’ll have to keep on imagining, because the car displayed on AK Motor’s splashy new site is clearly a scale model disguised as a full-size concept with some strategic tilt-shift photography.
We should be specific in saying that nowhere on the site does AK Motor claim the car in the pictures is a real, human-scale concept. But nor does it address the obvious question of why they’ve gone out of their way to gussy up a tiny car to accompany this announcement. Anyway, let’s dig into this weirdness.
Outside a lot of marketing jargon, the company has released very little information pertaining to the vehicle’s capabilities. It claims the car will have an adjustable suspension capable of lifting it from as low as 5.5-inches off the ground to 11.4 in, but no specifics surrounding the drivetrain are known. That’s likely because they haven’t been sorted out yet. In the release, AK Motor International refers to the vehicle as more of “a super car [sic] with four doors,” which is likely a hint to the performance which is desired.
This all sounds rather typical of an EV startup, however, there are at least few unique details here. First of all, the adjustable suspension is part of a snow-conquering scheme to make the Maple Majestic an electric vehicle that’s comfortable with a bit of powder. Besides the ride height adjustability, the company claims an elongated wheelbase will make the car easier to drive in the snow, and the possible addition of an ICE range-extender ahead of the rear axle might also help with electric range on especially cold days. That extra-long wheelbase—longer than a regular Escalade’s at 122-inches—is also a good way to make space for a large battery, according to the company. Adding extra range is a sort-of obvious solution to EV’s cold weather range trouble, but a solution nonetheless.
The people behind the Maple Majestic seem to be—according to their two-follower Twitter account—a “Toronto-based automotive industry think-tank” that calls itself “CANU” (Canadian Automotive New Utilities.) I can’t find anyone associated with this organization online, nor can I find a lot of information about AK Motor International’s supposed founder, Arkadiusz Kaminski.
The company’s website links to an article in Automotive News Canada that claims Kaminski is a former Industrial designer from toy company Spin Master. In the article, Kaminski says that Spin Master was able to find success despite manufacturing nothing in-house, a plan which he thinks can work for EVs as components become more readily available on the open market. As such, it seems as if he plans to receive significant investment from the Canadian government—a la Bricklin—and then make a car from mostly off-the-shelf parts. But honestly, it’s pretty hard to nail anything down about this company now that I’ve looked into it a little bit, almost everything you can find about this whole situation is contained within the company’s only press release.
This press release claims that CANU is a project by AK Motors to develop some manner of automobile, so I guess Maple Majestic is technically part of a CANU initiative. It’s all very confusing. CANU has a Facebook page with what looks like a render of this very vehicle, but no more in the way of its specifications, or information about itself or AK Motor. It also has a website that just says, literally, “Stay tuned, great things are coming soon!”
So as far as the Maple Majestic goes, it’s pretty much a big unknown at this point. In the Automotive News article, Kaminski states that the eventual sticker for this vehicle would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000, so it would be competing with the Tesla Model S and the Lucid Air. That being said, all we seem to have so far is a press release, a disorganized jumble of websites and social media accounts, and a small-scale model. A little bit… more would probably be nice before we go jumping to comparisons, or before anybody invests any money.
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