Everyone from Renault to VW, with a few Russians in between, has taken a crack at repackaging the city car. For some reason though, most of these "reinventions" still have four wheels. Canadian company Electra Meccanica has joined Elio Motors in asking why, with its three-wheeled Solo.
The name might have already given this away, but the Solo will only seat one person. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, Electra Meccanica wants to transport the driver to work, around town and then home again in the most efficient way possible. Considering we do most of our driving without passengers in tow, one of the best ways to cut down on weight and size is to drop the extra seats.
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On the surface, the weight-saving measures have worked. The Citroen C4 Cactus, a car designed with efficiency and light weight in mind, tips the scales at 2,249 lb (1,020 kg), and the carbon-intensive Alfa Romeo 4C barely scrapes in under 2,205 lb (1,000 kg). Meanwhile, the Solo weighs around 992 lb (450 kg).
When it comes to saving weight, size matters, and the Solo is really quite small. It measures 120 in (3.04 m) from tip-to-tail, and is just 47.6 in (1.21 m) wide at the front wheels, which makes it 40 in (1.05 m) shorter and 19.2 in (0.5 m) narrower than the Elio Motors three-wheeler.
Making things lighter brings with it an array of benefits. For one, the car only needs 82 hp (61 kW) and 140 lb.ft (190 Nm) of torque to sprint from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in just eight seconds, on its way to a top speed of 75 mph (120 km/h). Of course, outright performance is largely irrelevant to a car like this, so we're going to focus on economy instead.
Drawing from an 8.64 kWh lithium-ion battery, the rear mounted electric motor is said to offer up 100 mi (160 km) of range, and charging takes between three and six hours depending on the outlet you've plugged your J1772 connector into. For comparison, the Renault Twizy manages 62 mi (100 km) from its battery, while the fully-grown BMW i3 EV can now manage 186 mi (300 km).
Even though there's only room for one inside, that one person is well looked after. The driver sits behind an LCD instrument display, and can play their music through a radio unit with Bluetooth, USB and CD inputs. Apparently, there's also a reversing camera, although we're not sure where that feed will be run in the cabin.
The Solo is currently in the prototyping phase, so these specifications may still change before (if) the car makes it into production. If, however, you like the way the Solo sounds at the moment, the company is accepting CAD 250 (US$196) deposits towards an anticipated CAD 19,888 (US$15,624) pricetag.
Source: Electra Meccanica