EV Startup Wanting To Be Canada's Tesla Shows Off Car That's Clearly A Scale Model

Gif: AK Motor International

EV startups are always trying to bring something cool to the table, and AK Motor International from Canada is no exception. But the Maple Majestic may not get the attention AK Motor is looking for, as the promo shots for the car clearly show it to be a scale model — one with little detail, at that.

AK Motor dropped a press release last week announcing the Maple Majestic brand. The company says its Maple Majestic is a symbol of hope in the aftermath of the pandemic. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve heard of a more Canadian name for a vehicle than Maple Majestic. And why the name? AK Motor says:

The “Maple” leaf is a symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures, and “Majestic” is a reference to Canada’s status as a Constitutional Monarchy. According to AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski, “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage”.

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But there may be one problem. The snazzy press images and official video of the Maple Majestic car shows something that’s clearly a small scale model. And that model reminds me of a cheap 1:5 scale toy.

Now, I don’t think there’s any real problem using the model itself. While automakers don’t often go full send with a scale model for press images, it’s not uncommon to see renders, virtual models and even useless fake spy shots. I might even say that a model is cooler than a render. AK Motor’s CEO, Arkadiusz Kaminski, is a former industrial designer from a toy company. So a toy model for the EV makes sense.

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Photo: AK Motor International

I think the real problem is in the presentation. The shots and video appear to use forced perspective. The pictures make it look like a real car and that’s really all I can focus on. Then after realizing that it’s a model I can’t stop looking at areas with low detail or the fact that I can see the camera guy crouching down to take the pictures. I found myself giggling hard.

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Photo: AK Motor International

AK Motor says that it wants the Maple Majestic to make electric cars civilized. Its 122-inch wheelbase could allow for the installation of a gasoline engine for use as a generator or to make it a hybrid. The company also says that the Maple Majestic will be a car built to handle the frozen winters of Canada.

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The company’s wordy release says the car will have six inches of ride height adjustability, and the vehicle itself will have a maximum ground clearance of 11.4 inches. Forget navigating snow, this thing sounds like it can go off-road too!

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Photo: AK Motor International
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AK Motor didn’t provide much else, other than stressing how this car will be built for conquering winter. There aren’t even pictures of what the interior could be like.

I contacted AK Motor for clarification on what’s going on here and the CEO gave me a long explanation for the cute little car. The decision to use the little scale model was intentional:

[...]

Naturally, this is a scale model. At 1:5 scale it is quite large. It is an industry standard to build 1:5 scale models to give a visual device that people can walk around and see how it behaves under natural lighting conditions. You can easily see that the panel gaps are not black, and you can’t see through the windows. Also, we made sure that the vehicle was not moving, as that would have entered the realm of trickery. We felt it would be completely obvious that this was a scale model, that it wouldn’t be a question.

It comes as a pleasant surprise that anyone would think otherwise. It means the vehicle looks natural in its environment. At any rate, it is a far greater challenge to build a 3-D mock-up than to make pretty renderings for a start-up. The same CAD data which is usable for a rendering should be strong enough for building a model. The model, at any scale, is the next step after the rendering, and not the other way around. The model was 3-D printed and it also proves that the CAD data was accurate and now can be used for the 1:1 scale model.

[...]

Honestly, I don’t hate the design. It’s like a four-door Audi TT with the face of a Tesla. But I’m not sure a model was the best way to show it off. Hopefully we’ll get to see one of these in true 1:1 scale!

Staff Writer at Jalopnik and learning pilot. Loves all vehicles! Smart Fortwo (x4), Honda Beat, AmTran School Bus, VW Passat W8, Jetta TDI (x2), Audi TT, Buell Lightning, Suzuki Burgman, Yamaha U7E...

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What is this, a car for ants?