Tesla has proven that electric cars are the future and there are now a lot more manufacturers trying this route. One of these companies is Electra Meccanica which combines a highly capable engineer that worked on race-cars so far with a coach-building company that made specialty vehicles in the last 50 years. Their offering is the brand new 2017 Electra Meccanica SOLO Vehicle which has been launched today as a cheap and highly efficient one-seat electric car. However, even though the SOLO is marketed as a car, it is actually a three-wheeler and it mostly complies with the usual motorcycle requirements.
Even though the idea of an electric car is not new, up until recently these were mainly used only by those who wanted people to see that they care about the environment. Tesla changed that concept and SOLO should follow them. The man behind their three-wheel electric car came up with the idea back in 2007 when he was working at NASA’s research park.
Since then the car has been in development with the first prototype being released back in January 2015. The car released today is the production-ready version and it does come with a few improvements over the concept. The price has been announced at just under $20,000 in Canada. This means that in the US the car may cost as little as $15,500 in which case it would become the cheapest out there.
The technology involved in it.
Even though the 2017 Electra Meccanica Solo is a cheap car designed to be cheap, it comes with very interesting features. For starters, it is only a one-seat car. The driver sits pretty much in the middle of the chassis which gives great feedback and visibility.
This also frees up quite a bit of space for most of the equipment inside the cabin. Even though the SOLO won’t win any design contests, its rather utilitarian cabin is quite well equipped. The seat and steering wheel can be adjusted, the instrument cluster is made out of an LCD screen which displays everything about the car but the buttons seem to be taken straight out of a military vehicle.
The good part is that things like air conditioning, a windshield defogger, a great infotainment system and a heated seat can all be had even on the base model. Also, the trunk is bigger than that of a C300 Coupe which is no easy feat with a car this small at only 10 feet long, around 50 inches high and less than 50 inches wide.
Even though some said that it looks strange, considering the price and the technology used in the car, the SOLO is one of the more interesting out there. In the front it seems that they went for a rather aggressive design with straight lines and a hexagonal grille.
Also, there are small intake-like features in the bumper which do complete the look even further. The back is a bit more strange because it only has one center wheel. However, the LED tail lights, the black accents, diffuser-like element and small roof spoiler do give it a really interesting look nonetheless.
What powers the 2017 Electra Meccanica Solo Vehicle?
In order to fit its price tag, the car is powered by a compact electric motor offering 82 horsepower and 149 lb-ft of torque. This allows it to hit 60 MPH in around eight seconds and hit a limited top speed of 80 MPH. The battery is a rather small 16.1 kWh unit but thanks to being a lithium-ion cell, it doesn’t weigh that much.
Even though it might be small, thanks to a 0.24 drag coefficient, low weight and highly efficient electric motor, the SOLO will be able to travel up to 100 miles which is very impressive. The car will also charge from pretty much any socket with a charging time of 6 hours for a 110V outlet and just 3 for a 230V outlet.