A friend warned us that Renault and Ikea were making something revolutionary. These companies would sell you an electric car called Höga (tall, in Swedish) that you could assemble by yourself, at home, and that would cost you only $6,5000. We decided to check and the reality is that this was just a clever bachelor thesis from Ryan Schlotthauer.
The news started spreading after it was published by reputable sources such as L’Automobile. It described how Ikea had just released the first images of its urban electric car, and how it would cost the equivalent to 5,300€. It also spoke it would have 374 individual pieces, and that it would be shipped in a flat pack, like the Ox electric truck.
As interesting as it sounded, we decided to check what it was really about and got in touch with all three parts involved: Renault, Ikea, and Schlotthauer.
The first answer we received was from Renault:
“This is definitely a very nice academic project. Nonetheless, Renault was not involved in any way in this project.”
Ikea later also replied to our request for information and sent a nice note to Schlotthauer:
“We are happy to see there is such a great interest in Mr. Schlotthauer’s Senior Thesis in the media. We very much like the idea ourselves of a new way of mobility and, we have in fact explored both skateboards and bikes in our range in the past. However, as happy as we are that students continue to get inspired by Ikea, we would like to clarify that to this day there isn’t any ongoing or planned collaboration between Ikea and Renault. This was merely elaborated on in the student room of Mr. Schlotthaur, which – possibly – is furnished with a Micke or Bekant desk. But that would be as far as Ikea was ever involved in the Höga project. We thank Mr. Schlotthaur for the smile he put on our faces and wish him and all students the best for their preparing for their Senior Thesis this spring!”
The final piece of the puzzle came from the designer himself:
“This concept was simply done for my bachelor thesis and was not done in connection with Renault or Ikea. This work was all done by me with these companies in a theoretical collaboration.”
That obviously does not mean we’ll never be able to buy an electric car we can assemble ourselves. It would be nice to have that option in the future, even if badly assembled vehicles could pose a safety risk to the owner and to pedestrians and other cars. With proper assembly control, it could be an interesting idea.
Despite that, Ikea and Renault have not teamed up to do that this time. If you read anything about that, share this article to clarify things and tell people what to really expect: that Schlotthauer graduates with honors. Presenting something that so many took for real should count.