Automotive

Electra Meccanica three-wheeler lets efficient motorists fly Solo

Electra Meccanica wants to make city motoring more efficient
Electra Meccanica wants to make city motoring more efficient
View 8 Images
The range of the car is about 100 miles
1/8
The range of the car is about 100 miles
The car is designed to efficiently transport one person to and from work
2/8
The car is designed to efficiently transport one person to and from work
The Solo can be finished in four colors
3/8
The Solo can be finished in four colors
The car is reminiscent of the Elio Motors three wheeler
4/8
The car is reminiscent of the Elio Motors three wheeler
It's narrower than Elio Motors at the front and rear
5/8
It's narrower than Elio Motors at the front and rear
Power comes from a rear-wheel mounted electric motor
6/8
Power comes from a rear-wheel mounted electric motor
Power goes to the rear wheel from an electric motor
7/8
Power goes to the rear wheel from an electric motor
Electra Meccanica wants to make city motoring more efficient
8/8
Electra Meccanica wants to make city motoring more efficient

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.

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.

It's narrower than Elio Motors at the front and rear
It's narrower than Elio Motors at the front and rear

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

15 comments
SaysMe
Not a car, but an in-closed motorcycle, no helmet required...
Daishi
And of course with 2 employees and a drawing in hand they have skipped to the part where they take customer money for pre-orders. After Elio this is becoming something like the South Park underpants gnomes would come up with. Phase 1: Announce product, Phase 2: take preorders, Phase 3: Profit Elio spent 6 years and $70 million or so to build 5 very rough prototypes and they IPO'd with a $600 million dollar market cap and they will likely never actually launch a product. At this point I'm wondering if I can't just hire a 2 people on fiver to build me a quick website and draw up a prototype so I can launch my own 3 wheeled car company and take preorders too. This isn't like kickstarting an idea for an LED flashlight where you can just submit a design to a factory in China to build it's launching a car company and all the tooling, hiring, and manufacturing expenses that come with it. If the founders don't have millions of dollars of their own skin in the game or at least some massive funding from investors they probably shouldn't be taking peoples money just yet. So far Arcimoto is the most likely company I have seen in this space to actually launch a production product.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
@Daishi: ...um, so don't give 'em ur money? It does appear, though that all they've got is some average-quality renders and some made-up specs. Probly won't give 'em mine, either. ☺ Design comments: interesting that they're still trying to make it look somewhat like a car. Why not expand out of the "cookie-cutter" box a little, folks? Also, keep a mind to practicality if your mantra really is "to transport the driver to work, around town and then home again in the most efficient way possible". How much room in the boot, for example? I think someone would have an interesting product if they produced this kind of chassis that could bolt up to the rear end (drivetrain) of your average chinese cheapo scooter, combining to provide a simple, cheap all-weather commuter.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really cool. I hope they are able to put it into production. It would be neat not only to see them on the roads but also to drive one.
KeithHinkel
Saysme, it is an enclosed bike for COMMUTERS!! READ!! But it is trash--61 miles duration--no good., plus a cheap copy of the Elio. Then again put a hydrogen fuel cell in them all and you got a real car.
JoeFridaycc4bb9d9db8a47b2
There are quite a few emerging car companies, gasoline powered as well as electric powered. Sadly they are all being sat on by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA new car dealers), for refusing to let the NADA sell their cars retail through their crooked network of dealerships. Its isn't just Tesla that the NADA is trying to put out of business. Any new car company that chooses to sell its products factory direct (a necessary choice for struggling startups that don't have deep pockets), will come under fire from the NADA unless they agree to let their retail dealers and useless sales staff get their cut. The NADA affiliated dealerships (in 48 states now all new cars must be sold retail and only through an NADA affiliated dealership), are nothing more than rent seeking businesses that enjoy a closet monopoly hiding behind big government protectionist legislation called franchise laws. Its sad but because of the greed of this of the this organization Americans will almost certainly be denied more automotive options. Your right to choose is being taken away "by the NADA". Support Elon's factory direct sales model and Americans who want their God given right to choose taken back from the NADA and returned to the people. The NADA's franchise laws aren't protecting anyone but themselves. Support your right to once again buy factory direct or continue to bend over for your friendly neighborhood NADA dealership.
Glen Aldridge
$20,000.? Seriously, this is getting awfully close to some electric cars already on the market after Government rebates. You can already get several Velomobiles for half the price, some of which are getting close to 80kms/hr. If you really want to get the super lean city car why not get an Elf already in production for $8,000? Get yourself some healthy exercise, save on insurance & other operating costs, park it almost anywhere & stick the remaining $12,000. in your round the world vacation fund.
StreetUrchin
In most cases it is still considered as a motorcycle and would require a helm regardless you're enclosed or not, since there is not a legal distinction (yet).
ZackJoshua
So for about what we paid for our 2013 Honda Civic, we can buy this? I don't think so. Motorcycles aren't bound by car safety devices. Make em in India and get them over here for less than 8 grand. Use a ubiquitous 250 scooter engine, fair it well, and have a chopper glass sprayed,fiberglass over foam, low tech solution that people can actually afford and drive.
El_Zato
I kinda like it. I'd buy it and immediately swap in an Evinrude e-Tec Two-Stroke V4