Lots of folks were impressed with MG’s Cyberster concept revealed in April, arguably because of its nifty light-up grille. Well, if you counted yourself among that group, here’s some good news. The historic British marque, owned by Chinese automotive giant SAIC, has confirmed it will bring the convertible sports car to production.
The Cyberster was greenlit through a successful “crowdfunding” campaign according to the SAIC MG page on Chinese social network Weibo. As part of this campaign, 5,000 individuals registered their interest in the car by paying the company 1,000 yuan — or about $155 — in total generating about $775,000 for the project.
Now, the research and development needed to bring a new model to market can creep into the billions, and SAIC grossed $113 billion last year — so it’s not like the company needed donations from a few thousand people to make the car real. Therefore, calling this a crowdfunding effort seems a bit disingenuous. The money spent will at least go toward deposits on those vehicles whenever they are ultimately made, so I suppose that’s fair enough if prospective buyers were so moved by the concept that they felt compelled to empty their wallets.
But the Cyberster isn’t a rolling prototype; it’s very much a design study with no running gear at the moment. The performance figures the automaker claimed — that it’ll be able to hit 62 mph from a standstill in less than three seconds and run 500 miles on a full charge — are suggestions, or perhaps objectives the engineers hope to achieve, but they’re hardly real yet. I’m not saying SAIC couldn’t hit those marks, but if I was well off enough to blow money on an unproven electric roadster, I might opt for one from an automaker with a known track record of building such vehicles. At least I’d wait for a video of it being driven in anger first.
Besides, it’s the Cyberster’s design that people really gravitated toward, and that may change considerably in the conversion to series production — both because of global safety regulations as well as the fact there’s nothing underneath the bodywork of that dummy.
Those who participated in the crowdfunding will have the opportunity to influence the car’s development according to Autocar, though we don’t yet know in what way. All SAIC’s done at the moment is “crowdfund” a cool grille — if we’re lucky, maybe one day it’ll turn into a great electric sports car.