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Bpifrance backs microcar player with €10 million

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French microcar manufacturer Kate has secured €10 million to help fund a new factory and develop a modular platform for its ultra light electric vehicles.

Kate’s first vehicle built on the platform is the K1 – an everyday electric micro car based on the Kate Original but designed for mass use.

The funding comes in three instalments from public sector investment bank Bpifrance as part of the France 2030 Initiative and the Next Generation EU Programme.

“We believe the future of mobility is ultra light vehicles,” Kate President Thibaud Elzière told Zag Daily. “We are building a new kind of vehicle that doesn’t exist now.”

The platform will consist of the battery and engine. Funding will also go towards a new 10,000sqm factory in France that will be built by the end of the year and serve production of the platforms.

“The factory will not look like an automotive factory. The tools and processes we use will be adapted to small light vehicles,” Thibaud said. 

By 2030 the manufacturer hopes to produce a total of 40-50,000 platforms and cars per year, with the K1 set to launch in 2026.

Kate anticipates that the K1 will better serve everyday mobility needs while putting sustainability at its forefront. In 2023, journeys with a distance of less than 80 kilometres accounted for 98% of trips in France. 

“People are using cars to do the shopping and pick up their kids from school. You don’t need a two-tonne vehicle to do this.

“I think people will have two vehicles in the future. They might have a big vehicle like the Tesla Y, which is the most sold vehicle in Europe, and they’ll have the Kate. The Kate would be used 98% of the time and then they’ll wonder why they even need the bigger vehicle.”

Thibaud raised the possibility of the K1 being a 3-seater vehicle to make it more compact.

The funding comes alongside the appointment of Paul Quéveau, former Heuliez Bus Managing Director, to Kate Managing Director.

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