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$20,000 BC-built, three-wheeled electric car to launch in July

Electra Meccanica Solo
Electra Meccanica Solo
Electra Meccanica’s SOLO. The all electric, single passenger, three-wheeled commuter vehicle that is built in British Columbia will launch this summer.

A new electric car that is built in British Columbia will be available this summer, says the company’s CEO. The Electra Meccanica Solo is an all electric, single passenger, three-wheeled commuter vehicle. It isn’t meant to replace your family car, says the company, but it will fill in for it on short trips where you are packing too much gear or have a whole bunch of groceries.

“It addresses the 83 per cent of people who commute by themselves 30 kilometres or less each way,” says CEO Jerry Kroll. “That means 14 million Canadians can do their commute in this car and still have extra range.”

The company notes that about 90% of travel is single passenger and wonders aloud why commuters should have to pay to transport a three-thousand pound vehicle for many of these trips. It says more than 100 people have put down a $250 deposit that gives them the right to buy a solo.

Kroll likens the evolution of the vehicle to the consumer shift in personal computing.

Northstar Cleantech

“The Electra Meccanica Solo is the Smartphone for the road…”

 

“The Electra Meccanica Solo is the Smartphone for the road,” he says. “It does what you need, it’s mission specific, it gets the job done neatly. Quite frankly, they sell a lot more smartphones than they do desktop computers.”

Three-wheeled vehicles are, of course, nothing new. They date back to the last years of the 19th century with the Léon Bollée Voiturettein France, and Switzerland’s “Egg” car, named for automotive engineer Rudolf Egg.

In Canada, Quebec-based Campagna Motors has marketed a cycle-car called the T-Rex since the mid-1990s. And since 2007, Bombardier has sold the Can-Am Spyder, a three-wheeled motorcycle.

 

Three-wheeled vehicles are street legal in many Canadian provinces such as Quebec, B.C and Manitoba, but have hit a roadblock in the lucrative Ontario market…

 

But in Canada, like much of the rest of the world, three-wheeled vehicles have never really caught on. South of the border, some new legislation is the latest volley in changing the fate of these trikes, which have historically been treated as oddities on the highways, turnpikes and freeways of a car-obsessed culture.

The Autocycle Safety Act, proposed by Louisiana senator David Vitter and introduced into congress in March of last year, would ensure that three-wheelers would have electronic stability control, a steering wheel air bag, curtain side impact air bags, and anti-lock brakes. Vitter says the law would “ensure that imported vehicles of similar types will be covered by the same safety standards that domestic manufacturers will follow.”

Three-wheeled vehicles are street legal in many Canadian provinces such as Quebec, B.C and Manitoba, but have hit a roadblock in the lucrative Ontario market, where they are not. But that may soon change.

On March 1, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation launched a decade-long pilot project that will examine whether or not three-wheeler should be allowed on the province’s roads.

 

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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Comment

  1. 20 grand for that, there are so many small cars oit there for less money with more useablilty. The electric car schtick is a dud.

  2. for 20 grand everyone with a conscious should buy one to protect the environment and support a BC business

  3. I see benefits, especially once large numbers of commuters switch to these vehicles.
    It could save drivers up to $4000./yr in gas and ICE maintenance costs.
    Super easy to find a parking spot in the crowded downtown streets/parkades.
    Lower congestion on city streets.
    Pedestrians would be ‘filtering’ less air pollution with our lungs.
    Easy to find a place for it at home and easy to recharge.
    Where would I locate the dealerships for these vehicles?
    1. UBC, SFU, Kwantlen (think about it)
    2. Stanley Park (test-drives around the park, day rentals, sales)
    3. Waterfront Station (inside the building)
    Cheers, JBS

  4. Too complicated. Need compressed air technology. Simple, and the only emission is AIR….

  5. Even assuming it saves $4000 in costs, and assuming the electricity is somehow free, and it costs nothing to insure, it will only pay for itself in 5 years, or around about when the battery pack will need replacing… another $5000 or so. Parking is moot unless the spots themselves shrink, unless you plan on sharing a single spot which gets iffy.
    The only real-world situation where it works is where it’s the family second car, and it’s too limited for the price-point. Financially, there are better options.
    Where this vehicle would absolutely take over is if it could drive itself. It would be the ultimate self-driving taxi. That is probably a good 10 years out though. It would be good if this company could sell enough of these to stay in business, working out the bugs, until that happened. They would be flying then.
    Right now, the base problem with vehicles like this is that there’s no regulatory framework to support them. Look at Japan and their 660cc vehicles as an example. They get various exemptions over regular vehicles, the biggest one being a pass on their “you must prove you have a parking spot before you can buy a car” law. That’s the killer reason they are so popular in Japan (the only way a family can typically have a second car) and why there are so many to choose from. I say we need a new insurance class between electric-assist bicycle and this thing. Small, light, cheap, single-seater, skip the pedal requirement but require a drivers license to operate, and okay them for commuter lanes. Get the framework right and companies will figure out what they can sell.

  6. …just another outfit looking to cash in on the early adopter technofaddy with deep pockets looking to bling his neighbours with a head turner. The range is pure urban commuter only and It’s way overpriced. For $20 grand, there are better value options out there. You want pure electric that’s practical, the Chevy Bolt will have more than enough range (over 300km) for the urban commuter and may even get you to the cottage for a weekend getaway. I see electric soon offering range before recharging that is similar to that of an an ICE buggy needing a tank of gas…When that happens, the end of the ICE will be on the horizon.

  7. should be a good fit for you then Choco (apologies just trying to speak at the same level)

  8. The difference between this vehicle and the other two three wheelers mentioned in this article (which is damn shy on specs considering the vehicle launch is imminent) and this offering is that they are both snarling fighter jet type, highly powered sports models and this appears to be a sewing machine on wheels.
    Comparing them favorably and basing sales estimates on their sales is rather like suggesting you’ll do well in the bedroom slipper market because sales of somebody else’s work boots are doing well at the moment.
    The three wheeled electric short range single passenger commuter car has been tried by multiple companies … and it has failed each and every time.
    And by the way, smart phones are NOT “mission specific”. Old cellphones and land line phones were indeed. Then along came the app store and now you can use you phone for all sorts of things.

  9. Don’t forget the $5000 per vehicle BC taxpayer subsidy this thing qualifies for.

  10. Yup. Easy to picture Austin Powers chasing Goldmember…. Can’t wait to see these stupid things scattered like toothpicks once a snowfall hits…

  11. I’m waiting to buy the ELIO 55 HP racing design engine.This one gets 84 MPG and I can bring it above 100 MPG with friction reducers I’ve tested.The cost is $ 6,800 US and production is this year.
    The ELIO also has 2 seats back to back and looks like this 20 K electric….LOOK at you tube P-5 ELIO for vids.

  12. Dear “treehuggers” this is your chance to show the county your true values, not just screaming about banning oil, gas, plastics and other “unnecessary crap” in our lives, but really invest in your priorities. We will be with the heartbeat monitoring the sales of this “almost free” piece of transportation to understand how honest you really are in your bs. Good luck.

  13. Sorry, but $20,000 is far too much for this very limited vehicle. I predict a short life for this venture.

  14. An enclosed motorcycle. Thanks, we’ll stick to four wheels and what’s on the street now.
    Happy Motoring.

  15. Re: “The electric car schtick is a dud”
    Ummm…. $35K for a Tesla Model 3 – 5 passenger, massive range, auto-pilot.
    And…subtract from that $35K cost the price you’ll pay for fuel vs electric over the life of the vehicle = incredibly affordable.
    About as non schtick *dud* as you can get!

  16. I take it your not an Engineer…..The Smart car….the ELIO and this car.
    A Cavalier doesn’t have trouble in the snow.

  17. Do you really think many, if any, Model 3 will be delivered with a $35k price tag. I am sure the typical price will be well north of $45k.

  18. Looks like Canadians are even more nasty than US is judging by the sadly ignorant posts below.
    This is a very nice, economical machine that will cost little to run or park. And it has plenty of range, speed to do it’s job, commuting.
    Over 5 yrs from the fuel, etc savings will in many cases pay for it in 5-7 yrs, hardly expensive.
    Recent battery packs are looking like 20 yr lives at least in Volts, Tesla’s we have 6 yr data on with little loss of capacity, under 5% ..
    And it is cheaper than some MC’s getting the equivalent of 250-300 miles/gal.
    While electricity does cost this uses so little , $.01-.02/mile depending on your electric rates.
    Just because something might not be good for you, why do you have to trash it? Fact is if you drove it you’d likely fall in love with it, so powerful, smooth, quite and no chance of CO poisoning.
    And starts right up in winter prewarmed and ready to go.
    But because it is different you can’t handle it. Sad.

  19. If the Elio ever gets built. I think it won’t because with all those 50k orders, deposits and yrs but refuse to build any.
    Yes they say they are going to build 100 of them but we’ll see. They needed to start mass production a couple yrs ago.
    And use the same units comparing as this only costs $15k US. And in November you can buy one vs not likely ever in the Elio which is likely a scam.
    And it is taking them only 1 yr to production. What is taking Elio so long?

  20. Complicated compared to air power with a whole 2 mile range? Get to a physics class and learn something.

  21. LOOK,…..I come from a family oil business in the 1970’s.It took 5 years to get our sales and production to peak.
    I invested in Gold and Silver mines in 2009 and waited patiently for 2016.
    If you don’t understand this then you will never have sucess in life…..LIFE IS NOT A MACDONALS ……..burger in 5 minutes LOL

  22. I’m waiting to buy the ELIO 55 HP racing design engine.This one gets 84
    MPG and I can bring it above 100 MPG with friction reducers I’ve
    tested.The cost is $ 6,800 US and production is this year.
    The ELIO also has 2 seats back to back and looks like this 20 K electric….LOOK at you tube P-5 ELIO for vids.

  23. I’m waiting to buy the ELIO 55 HP racing design engine.This one gets 84
    MPG and I can bring it above 100 MPG with friction reducers I’ve
    tested.The cost is $ 6,800 US and production is this year.
    The ELIO also has 2 seats back to back and looks like this 20 K electric….LOOK at you tube P-5 ELIO for vids. ….consider this vehicle with LONG range

  24. It didn’t take you 5 yrs to start production did it? It looks like Elio is a scam by their refusal to put it into production. The excuses are getting old.
    And I have some great swampland you might want to buy, lol.
    I’d like nothing better than see the Elio produced as i love this style vehicle.
    but I’ve seen this movie before.
    And I build them custom so know exactly what is needed.
    Vs the Solo they are half way to production in just 6 months with a far better, lighter, safer vehicle.
    Vs 7? Yrs now for the Elio for 2 units?

  25. HOW long to make your business a sucess ??
    5 years is the standard answer.
    I have morepatience for ELIO and will buy mine in 2020 with a proven reliability record ….ONLY.

  26. Want to continue the conversations? I’m looking forward to the Sept. 9th
    launch of the Electra Meccanica Solo in Vancouver BC. I’m in line for
    mine in 2017 in the U.S. and I was so impressed with this company and
    this vehicle that I launched http://www.soloowners.net
    It’s THE forum for Solo enthusiasts and future owners. I look forward
    to being a part of this informative and beneficial community. Please
    stop by, make yourselves at home and let’s talk everything Solo.Together
    we’ll be taking back the road. Go Solo!

  27. “The range is pure urban commuter only and It’s way overpriced.”
    I am not a commuter. I’m retired. I will use this thing as a runaround. I hate to waste time at filling stations and service stations. The low maintenance really appeals to me. For highway trips, most of my province is within easy driving range and there are charging stations every 100 miles or so out there. I don’t need to keep driving. I can drive somewhere and walk around/shop/smell the roses while it’s charging. This works for me. My kids can drive the grand kids around. I don’t need to do that. The price is fine. It will pay for itself and I expect longer life compared to an ICEd vehicle. I’m planning to charge mine at home from solar power. It’s all good.

  28. “this is your chance to show the county your true values”
    I’ve already paid my deposit. I will blog extensively on my use of the machine. I plan to tour most of my province and do more fishing.

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