Automotive

East European EV heads for the New World

East European EV heads for the...
SAM isn't likely to be mistaken for any other vehicle
SAM isn't likely to be mistaken for any other vehicle
View 8 Images
SAM seats a driver and one passenger
1/8
SAM seats a driver and one passenger
About 300 of the rear-drive 2-seater SAM vehicles have been manufactured to date
2/8
About 300 of the rear-drive 2-seater SAM vehicles have been manufactured to date
SAM has a maximum speed is 90 km/h (56 mph)
3/8
SAM has a maximum speed is 90 km/h (56 mph)
SAM isn't likely to be mistaken for any other vehicle
4/8
SAM isn't likely to be mistaken for any other vehicle
SAM is accessed via folding gull-wing doors
5/8
SAM is accessed via folding gull-wing doors
SAM has a steel frame and fully-recyclable polyethylene body
6/8
SAM has a steel frame and fully-recyclable polyethylene body
SAM's spartan interior
7/8
SAM's spartan interior
The planned stateside base price for SAM is US$8,600, plus battery
8/8
The planned stateside base price for SAM is US$8,600, plus battery
View gallery - 8 images

If you've been to Poland recently, you may have seen a bug-eyed little three-wheeled electric car driving down the streets. It's known as the SAM, and it's been manufactured in that country since 2009. More recently, its makers have begun selling units in markets such as Switzerland (where it was first developed, by a different group), Germany, Austria and the UK. Now, the company is set to begin exporting SAMs to the US.

Featuring a steel chassis and fully-recyclable polyethylene body, the SAM is accessed via a folding gull-wing door. About 300 of the rear-drive 2-seater vehicles have been manufactured to date.

It has a lithium-polymer battery pack that can be fully charged from an ordinary outlet within five hours. Depending on operating conditions and ambient temperature, that charge should reportedly be good for a range of 80 to 100 km (50 to 62 miles). Its maximum speed is 90 km/h (56 mph).

SAM is accessed via folding gull-wing doors
SAM is accessed via folding gull-wing doors

CEO Wacław Stevnert tells us that the SAM company hopes to begin US sales sometime next year, and is currently looking for prospective dealers in California and Florida. The planned base price without battery is US$8,600, with the standard battery costing an additional $3,750 – a higher-capacity battery will go for $5,750, and should provide a range of up to 100 miles (161 km).

Sources: Friends of SAM, SAM of USA

View gallery - 8 images
15 comments
Leonard Foster Jr
Poor Elio ;-)
Racqia Dvorak
If Elio does come to market, I doubt they have anything to fear from a product that costs as much or more than a new Nissan Versa $12,350- $14,350, has a hilariously short range and a top speed that mopeds would scoff at.
Michael Wilson
I honestly doubt I"ll see anyone driving one of these in Florida or California. You would get run over. Cute car though
Lardo
12 grand for what is basically an adult sized Little Tykes pedal car. And gosh, I wonder how it'll stand up to a crash. (When some numb-skull, in his autonomous car, isn't paying attention and T-bones you.)
jerryd
Nice EV and should sell a good number. As for price, demand here in Florida they hafe 300k NEVs, LSVs already on the road but limited to 35mph roads or less. And some cost as much as this far better EV. What is not mentioned is just how cheap it is to run as once paid for, tag, tires is about it. It'll get 300mpge and many seniors here will buy it to replace their far more expensive cars and limited NEVs.
dbenware
First think I thought when I say it was to paint it like a skull.
javadog
Yep, that is just what I was thinking--- gotta love that skull-like face. Get an orange one to drive at Halloween.
icykel
Now we are getting somewhere. I really love this little chap and would call mine The Coleopteran. It looks such a fun shopping cart. I think the price is not too bad and once economical numbers are turned out the price will almost certainly come down.
JohnNelson
I'd pay that for a 500 cc ice version that got 75-80 mpg. Why can't a scooter company like Aprilla make something like this? It would do freeway speed and be aerodynamically superior to a mc/scooter platform. Plus the weather protection.
BartyLobethal
This is a near-perfect urban commuter / shopping cart. The price kills it a bit though. AU$8000 with battery would sell.