Among the pack of small manufacturers looking to revolutionise the commuter car with oddball, three-wheeled electric creations, Electra Meccanica is looking likely to succeed. Having rolled out a working example of the Solo, the team has announced plans to back it up with a classically-styled electric roadster and a faster, more aggressive Solo R.
The Tesla Model S might be lightning quick in a straight line, but it isn't really a true sports car. Short of multi-million dollar supercars like the Rimac Concept_One (or failed attempts like the Tesla Roadster), no-one has managed to really nail the formula when it comes to outright battery-powered fun. Electra Meccanica is hoping the Tofino will change that.
Electra Meccanica is promising a top speed of 200 km/h (125 mph) and a car that handles the 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in just seven seconds. Both the chassis and body panels are made of an unspecified "lightweight aerospace-grade composite" and, with a full charge, the car will cover 400 km (250 mi).
Those aren't earth-shattering numbers, but the Tofino is appealing in other ways. For one, the initial renders look fantastic, like a modern take on the iconic Porsche Speedster. With a retractable soft top and enough luggage space for "a weekend getaway or an adventurous cruise along the highways and backroads," we're envisioning an (expensive) electric take on the classic Mazda MX-5 formula.
Along with the Tofino, Electra Meccanica will be using the Vancouver Auto Show to display a faster, more aggressive take on the three-wheeled Solo. Unlike the cheap, economical Solo, the R runs with a set of sticky race tires and a higher-voltage battery for better performance. Once again, we're not expecting Tesla-toppling performance, but it's nice to see another electric vehicle manufacturer playing around with the huge potential on offer from batteries.
Pricing hasn't been announced for the Solo R, which may end up getting built, but we do know the Tofino will cost around CAD$50,000 (US$37,400) when it lands. If you're keen, the company will be accepting deposits of CAD$1,000 at the Vancouver Auto Show or through its website.
There's never any guarantee these small startups will be able to deliver on their promises, but Electra Meccanica has successfully brought the Solo to market – albeit a year behind schedule. At the moment there's no reason to assume the Tofino won't be the same, although building an expensive sports car is a different game to building three-wheeled commuters.