Automotive

Newest Electra Meccanica Solo electric 3-wheeler packs a cargo trunk

Newest Electra Meccanica Solo ...
Electra Meccanica puts a little extra junk into the trunk at this year's Advanced Clean Transportation Expo
Electra Meccanica puts a little extra junk into the trunk at this year's Advanced Clean Transportation Expo
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Electra Meccanica courts commercial customers with the new Solo Cargo
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Electra Meccanica courts commercial customers with the new Solo Cargo
Electra Meccanica puts a little extra junk into the trunk at this year's Advanced Clean Transportation Expo
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Electra Meccanica puts a little extra junk into the trunk at this year's Advanced Clean Transportation Expo

A hatchback is usually a solid choice for hauling cargo, but when the hatchback in question is a single-seat three-wheeler, things get a little more cramped. Canadian EV maker Electra Meccanica looks to solve this dilemma with a new cargo version of its three-wheeled all-electric Solo, replacing the usual lift-gate with a dedicated cargo trunk.

Adding a big rear box to a car as tiny and curvy as the Solo would usually be a drag on aesthetics, but Electra Meccanica has managed to integrate it pretty well. From the front 3/4 position, the new trunk looks almost like an aerodynamic Kamm tail element ... or maybe a hyper-boost jet thruster.

We're sure some will disagree on how well the cargo trunk blends with the pre-existing Solo design, but there's no arguing with a dedicated 226 liters of storage in a car as small and space-deprived as the Solo. That's an increase from the standard model's 142 liters. Electra has developed the Solo Cargo with commercial customers in mind and says that the cargo box can be customized with third-party upgrades like warming/refrigeration, lighting, internal shelves and bins, and more.

"There are a wealth of light fleet, business, and commercial applications where single occupants dominate," says Paul Rivera, Electra Meccanica president and CEO. "From fast food franchise delivery and pizza delivery, to grocery delivery, small parcel and post, to tech repair and security firms, the Solo Cargo EV is the ideal solution to help companies minimize operational costs and maximize efficiency."

Electra Meccanica courts commercial customers with the new Solo Cargo
Electra Meccanica courts commercial customers with the new Solo Cargo

The cargo box adds an inch of length for a full stretch of 123 in (312 cm) but doesn't affect the Solo's 100-mile (161-km) range or 80-mph (129-km) top speed. There's no mention of powertrain alterations, so the Cargo presumably shares the base Solo's 17.4-kW lithium battery-powered 56-hp electric motor.

Electra Meccanica revealed a prototype version of the Solo Cargo at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California this week. Specs and design are subject to change, and pricing was not released.

Would-be Solo Cargo owners shouldn't get too excited just yet, as Electra Meccanica has been proceeding along quite slowly. After announcing its first US customer delivery and production model back in 2018, the company built only 40 Solo models throughout the year at its Vancouver assembly facility, sending them to pilot customers. It announced plans to ramp things up considerably in 2019 with help from Chinese mass production partner Zongshen Industrial Group, with the intent of delivering 5,000 cars to its earliest customers.

By the end of 2019, however, it had taken delivery of only 50 pre-production cars from Zongshen, using them for final on-road validation testing and engineering tweaks while pushing a full-scale production launch back to mid-2020. Production did kick-off in August 2020 but, again, only a small number of cars made it out of the factory in 2020, and those were earmarked for promotional, retailer and test drive purposes.

Electra Meccanica has spent 2020 working on expanding its production capacity. In May, it broke ground on a new 235,000-sq-ft (21,832-sq-m) manufacturing and engineering facility in Mesa, Arizona scheduled to go online in spring 2022. Plans call for the Mesa facility to produce up to 20,000 vehicles per year.

Preorders for the US$18,500 base Solo are still available, but it seems potential buyers would be wise to wait until Electra Meccanica proves it can actually deliver customer cars in a meaningful way. As of now, it's advertising plans for a late-2021 delivery start ... but we'll believe it when it happens.

Source: ElectraMeccanica via Electrek

11 comments
11 comments
Johannes
Whenever I see a three wheeler, regardless of the power train, it always prompts one question. Why?
WilliamWatson
If I can't fit my dog and 50lbs of dog food in it, then it is useless.
DavidB
@Johannes, I assume it’s the lower weight, lower price, lower operating cost, and lower safety standards, but the lack of need for a motorcycle license and the lower cost of operator’s insurance might also be among the reasons.
ArdisLille
Even though it's all bright and shiny, it looks wounded.
freddotu
I suspect one reason to build a 3 wheel motor vehicle is that in may parts of the world and in many parts of the USA, such a vehicle is usually registered as a motorcycle. Also the classification of motorcycle means no required seat belts, no air bags, often reduced insurance rates.

Arcimoto makes a "tadpole trike" (2 front, one rear) that's electric and seats two in tandem. I'm not sure where the price is riding currently, but I think it's lower than this little scooter. The FUV they make is "open air" unless you pay extra for the fabric doors, but it is a motorcycle, after all!
paul314
I'm a little terrified about what the stuff in that box could do to the center of gravity.
Bob Flint
A Canadian company you say....but west coast weather is NOT like Montreal winters. It would be difficult to imagine the rear drive wheel always in the slush & deep packed snow, maybe with chains & skis upfront?
BlueOak
Trying to figure out why I cannot seem to get the Monty Python song “Eric, the half-a-bee” out of my head…
reholmes
Not sure why it needs 2 doors--guess that solves the right drive-left drive problem.
bicycler51
I took possession of an Arcimoto FUV this past week. Yes it is classified as a motorcycle. It's only sold in OR, CA, WA, & FL for now. Here in OR, since it is enclosed with a roll cage, no helmet or motorcycle endorsement is required. Another reason is the dual seat belts the driver must connect to have the FUV move. Base price is US$17,900. No doors yet but half doors are in development and will be US$2,500 option. Their web site is arcimoto.com for more info. And for those who question "why?", I say "why not!". They are not for everyone.
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