A three-wheeled electric vehicle could be on the road later this year in the U.S. and Canada.
Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, have officially unveiled the one-seat Solo. The Solo could go on sale as early as November pending approval by U.S. and Canadian regulators. It costs around US$15,500.
The Solo is classified as a car in Canada and as an autocycle in 41 U.S. states, Holland said. That means it does not require users to wear a helmet or have a motorcycle license, but it also does not have some safety features that are required in cars, like air bags.
The company sees the vehicle as ideal for low-speed commutes but it does have some safety features. Those include a backup camera, chrome-alloy tubes built into the side for crash protection and aluminum crush zones in the front and rear. The car’s body is made from the same strong but lightweight aluminum composite as the floor on a Boeing 787.
The car has two front wheels and one rear wheel and is 3.5 metres long, or about 35cm longer than a Smart car. It is nearly as wide as the Smart car and has a hood, headlights and grille. However, it tapers off sharply in the back. There is a plug hidden under its license plate.
The car is powered by a lithium-ion battery that can go 160km on a charge. It takes three hours to fully charge the battery using a 220V outlet or six hours using a 110V outlet. It has a top speed of 130km/hr and goes from zero to (almost) 100km/hr in 8 seconds, which is equivalent to a Toyota Camry.
Electra Meccanica expects its customers to be urban commuters who want an environmentally friendly vehicle.
The U.S. and Canadian governments are certifying the vehicle now and will let the company know if it will qualify for tax credits and other incentives, like use in carpool lanes, Holland said.
Once that process is completed, the company plans to open stores and start deliveries, he said. Electra Meccanica is currently reviewing 35 applications to open dealerships worldwide.