The SOLO, a single passenger electric three-wheeler, is slated for July launch
Looking for a smaller, less costly EV as a supplemental vehicle? The Electra Meccanica SOLO could be well worth considering.
Vancouver-based Electra Meccanica is taking aim at the small EV market with its forthcoming SOLO, a three-wheeled single passenger all-electric vehicle, which is expected to go into full production in July of 2016. This little electric vehicle isn't intended to replace the family car, as it doesn't have the large carrying capacity or long range of a gas car, but is instead expected to be an economical and zero (tailpipe) emissions vehicle that could be a green and clean commuter option.
The folks behind the SOLO aren't new to the auto industry, as one of the founders, Henry Reisner, has been building custom vehicles since the 1950s under the Intermeccanica banner, and the other, Jerry Kroll, has run a high tech electric racing vehicle development company (as well as being a veteran race car driver), but this new entry into the EV market is quite different from the focus of the full-sized electric car industry. It's small, it's light, and it promises to be both fast and affordable. In an interview last year, Kroll referred to the car as "the Volkswagen Beetle for the 21st century," and likened driving it to "wearing Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman suit."
"Approximately 90% of travel is done single passenger. Why should you have to pay for the gas and expense of transporting a 3,000+lb vehicle with only one person in the car? SOLO is designed to get you to and from work and around town as needed at minimal expense." - Electra Meccanica
The SOLO is expected to retail for about $19,888 CAD (~ $15,359 USD), which, while not exactly cheap, is significantly less than many other full-electric models (although it also has a significantly smaller hauling capacity as well), and Electra Meccanica has already taken quite a few individual refundable deposits for pre-orders of the initial model (in addition to the claimed 20,500 commercial orders), which is expected to go into full production this summer. With an estimated driving range of 125 miles between charges, this little EV could meet a very real need, which is the single passenger commuter vehicle (but would also be an excellent choice for a courier or delivery vehicle).
According to the company's website, the SOLO will be 'fueled' by a 8.64 kW/h lithium-ion battery, which will drive a rear electric motor that is said to deliver up to 82hp and push the vehicle to a top speed of 120 kmh (~75mph), with an acceleration capability of going from 0-100 kmh (0-62 mph) in about 8 seconds. The car weighs in at about 450 kg (992 lb) and looks to be small enough to fit into parking spots that most vehicles (other than motorcycles) could not fit into. It has only a single seat, but is said to be able to fit "several bags of groceries" in its rear cargo area.
Although many people are somewhat skeptical of any vehicle with only 3 wheels, the SOLO is the result of decades of experience in designing and building performance cars, and its creators are confident of its stability on the road:
"Because our engineering team’s specialty is building world-class sports cars, we focused on applying what we’ve learned over the last 50 years to the Solo. The batteries are slung low along the frame of the car so as to create an extremely low center of gravity, providing excellent handling." - Henry Reisner, Chief Engineer
The SOLO is expected to take a full charge on its battery in about 3 hours (on a 220V connection), so it seems like it would be possible to drive it all the way to the full end of its range each day, as long as you've got access to a charging outlet and a couple of hours before your return trip.
Find out more at Electra Meccanica.