Vancouver-based Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corporation (EMV) unveiled its 2017 one-seat, three-wheeled SOLO electric car on recently. Pending approval by U.S. and Canadian regulators, the car may become available for purchase as soon as November. Electra is taking deposits for the $15,500 (about £12k) SOLO on its website. The vehicle is not intended to replace conventional cars, but rather built to operate at minimal expense and as efficiently as possible for the average commuter, according to EMV’s COO, Henry Reisner, in a news release. It is powered by running on a lithium-ion battery that will go 100 miles on a charge and an AC synchronous electric motor. It requires three hours to completely charge the battery using a 220-volt outlet or six hours using a 110-volt outlet. It has a top speed of 82 mph and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds.
The vehicle has a length of approximately 10 feet and sits low to the ground. It has one rear wheel and two front wheels and is classified as a car in Canada and as an autocycle in 41 U.S. states. What this means is the driver is not required to wear a helmet or have a motorcycle license. The vehicle does not have airbags like the majority of cars but it nonetheless it comes with some safety features. Those include a backup camera, chrome-alloy tubes included in the side for crash protection, and aluminum crush zones in the front and rear. The Solo’s body is made of the same strong but lightweight aluminum composite as the floor on a Boeing 787.
The Solo has some fancy features, like a digital instrument display, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and keyless entry. Air conditioning costs extra. It is available in red, black, silver, and white. Power comes from a 16.1kWh lithium-ion battery. The company sees the vehicle as perfect for low-speed commutes. Solo developers say 80 per cent of commuters currently drive alone with the average daily round trip commute being less than 60 km, which means the vehicle would not require a charge because of its 160 km range.
The U.S. and Canadian governments are certifying the car now and will determine if it will be eligible for tax credits and other incentives, like use within carpool lanes, according to Electra Meccanica spokesman Jeff Holland.
Once that process is completed, the company intends to open stores and commence deliveries, he said. Electra Meccanica is currently reviewing 35 applications to start dealerships worldwide.