News Treehugger Voices Spiritus Is the 'Clean, Green, Electric Car of the Future' It's electric, but is it really a car? By Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter Facebook Twitter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast on March 26, 2021 LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process on March 26, 2021 01:18PM EDT Daymak Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Many electric car startups come out of nowhere, but the Spiritus comes from Daymak, a Canadian company that has been making mobility scooters, e-bikes, and "boomer buggies" for 20 years. Now they have launched the Spiritus, a three-wheeled, two-seater electric car. "With the Spiritus you aren’t just buying a car – you are making a statement, while you actively create a greener world. You will never again watch your wallet slowly empty as you fill your traditional car with tank after tank of fossil-fuel." Daymak Avvenire You are also making a question: Is it a car? There have been a couple of electric three-wheeled cars seen on Treehugger before, all classed as motorcycles. However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed changing the rules in 2016 to treat them as cars: "Because these car-like vehicles ride on three wheels instead of four, they are not required to meet federal safety standards for passenger cars (although they are subject to motorcycle safety standards). Various car-like three-wheeled vehicle models have been imported into the U.S. and have been available for sale to the public. NHTSA believes consumers who purchase these vehicles are likely to assume that these vehicles have the same safety features and crash protection as passenger cars certified to Federal safety standards." Daymak Avvenire It doesn't appear that the change in rules passed, given that three-wheelers like the Aptera are still being proposed. We asked Rob Cotter of ELF fame, who tells Treehugger: "3 wheelers are still motorcycles. Aspects vary state to state e.g. whether you need a helmet or not. If a trike is a 'car' it will lose a lot of the mfg advantages like needing airbags, crumple zones, a much stricter approval process." Prototype on the road. Daymak In Ontario, Canada where Daymak is based, the rules for three-wheeled vehicles are in the middle of a 10-year trial "in order to examine their ability to safely integrate with other vehicle types to determine whether existing rules of the road are adequate and to and to consider operating and licensing requirements," notes the Ministry of Transportation. Drivers need both seat belts and a helmet and it is licensed as a motorcycle. "While the physical design of three-wheeled vehicles may resemble many safety features of passenger cars (e.g. seat belts, steering wheel, pedals), three-wheeled vehicles are not designed to satisfy the requirements of passenger cars." Daymak So while strictly speaking it should not be called a car, the Spiritus comes in two versions, one that might replace a car and the other that might replace a rocket, and they are priced accordingly. Remarkably, the $149,000 rocket only weighs 350 pounds, twenty less than the $19,995 version. It also has an 80 kWh battery, which as far as I can tell, currently weighs at least as much as the car. The cheaper version has a 36 kWh battery and seems more realistic. Founder Aldo Baiocchi makes it clear in the video that the company has been around for a while and is serious. They write: "We Are NOT A Startup. Don’t get us wrong, we love startups! We’ve all been there. But for us, the startup phase was almost twenty years ago. We aren’t a startup, working on a dream and a prayer. We are a vetted, tenured, international company with a track record of established market success, major distribution deals from entities we know you know of (Costco, Walmart, we can go on)." However, It seems like a big leap to go from a Boomerbuggy to a vehicle that can do 130 miles per huor. ELF's Cotter, with his years of experience building three-wheelers, tells Treehugger: "I love what Daymak is trying to accomplish but I wonder how much of this will hit the streets, reliably for years. I spot significant inefficiencies just looking at their glamour shots." Daymak Avenire I love what Daymak is trying to do too, having previously called for lighter, smaller and slower cars: "bigger, heavier cars cause all kinds of problems. They consume more fuel, they cause more wear and tear on infrastructure, they take more room to park, they kill more pedestrians." I hope that it hits the streets soon. Preorder yours at Daymak Avvenire. And while you are there, you can preorder their Skyrider flying car, too. Really. View Article Sources "Three-Wheeled Vehicles." Ontario Ministry of Transportation.