Three-wheeled Solo electric vehicle motors past Elio on way to market

37 pictures

Electra Meccanica revealed the Solo this past weekend and plans to begin deliveries next year

View gallery - 37 images

For years, we've been hearing Elio Motors' plans and seeing its prototypes, to the point that it's only natural to wonder if it'll ever actually make a viable, market-ready vehicle. On the other hand, the similar Electra Meccanica Solo three-wheeler only hit our radar back in June of this year, but it's already set to beat Elio to market. Canada's Electra made things official last week, introducing the model and announcing 2017 deliveries.

When we looked at it a few months ago, the Solo was really just some renderings and a few specs on paper, making us wonder if it was yet another oddball vehicle project that would fall by the wayside, never to be heard from again. But things got more serious over the weekend when Electra Meccanica rolled out the Solo at the Luxury and Supercar event in Vancouver.

The Solo's basic description and primary specs haven't changed much since June – it's still a single-seat, 992-lb (450-kg) three-wheeler with an 82-hp (61-kW) electric motor driving its rear wheel. Range remains at roughly 100 miles (161 km), which continues to look paltry next to the new guard of 200+ mile (322+ km) cars like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt. When you take the Solo's super low weight, compact, single-seat design and 0.24 drag coefficient into account, you'd expect it to be leading the pack, not falling quietly into the middle of it. But the Solo does slot in at less than half the price of those other two, so we reckon concessions are going to come somewhere.

The Solo will never be a road-trip vehicle, anyway. Electra Meccanica is quite clear that it's really designed as a single-focus commuter, a supplement to the family car that can tackle the driver's basic everyday transportation needs in a very efficient way.

Beyond range, Electra Meccanica says the 16.1-kWh lithium ion battery and AC synchronous motor combine for speeds of up to 80 mph (129 km/h) and a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint of under eight seconds. That battery charges in three hours at a 220 V charging station or about six with 110 V.

The Solo measures 120 x 47.6 x 50.5 in (3 x 1.2 x 1.3 m, length x front width x height) and sits on a wheelbase of 80.5 in (2 m). Compared to the Elio (with which the Solo is destined to be inextricably linked), it has a fuller, more traditional car-like face with integrated front fenders. Its 15-in aluminum alloy wheels are wrapped in Continental all-season tires measuring 155/60 R15 up front and 175­/55 ­R15 at the rear.

Other Solo equipment includes Wilwood all-wheel disc braking, bi-halogen headlamps, daytime running lights and heated mirrors. The vehicle has 285 liters of cargo space.

The Solo's interior won't be confused for that of a luxury car, but given that custom coach builder Intermeccanica is one of the forces behind Electra Meccanica, the cabin is more than just an afterthought. It includes an LCD instrument panel, power windows, AM/FM radio with Bluetooth/USB and an adjustable seat. There's also a remote keyless entry, rear-view backup camera, and air conditioning available.

Electra Meccanica is now taking fully refundable deposits for the CAD$19,888 (approx. US$15,100) Solo on its website. Four colors are available: Titanium Silver, Electric Red, Raven Black and Arctic White. The company plans to begin deliveries in 2017.

Check out the Solo in action below:

View gallery - 37 images

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