Three-wheeled electric vehicle set to go on sale this year

Three-wheeled electric vehicle set to go on sale next year
This undated photo provided by Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. shows the Solo, a one-seater made by the Vancouver, Canada-based company. The three-wheeled electric car could soon go on sale in the U.S. and Canada. (Christoph Koch/Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. via AP)

A three-wheeled electric vehicle could be on the road later this year in the U.S. and Canada.

Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, officially unveiled the one-seat Solo on Friday. The Solo could go on sale as early as November pending approval by U.S. and Canadian regulators. It costs around $15,500.

Two hundred people have already put down a refundable deposit of 250 Canadian dollars ($193) to get the Solo, Electra Meccanica spokesman Jeff Holland said. Those who put down deposits now can expect delivery after the first quarter of 2017. The company eventually hopes to sell the Solo globally.

The Solo is classified as a car in Canada and as an autocycle in 41 U.S. states, Holland said. That means it doesn't require users to wear a helmet or have a motorcycle license, but it also doesn't have some safety features that are required in cars, like air bags.

The company sees the vehicle as ideal for low-speed commutes but it does have some safety features. Those include a backup camera, chrome-alloy tubes built into the side for crash protection and aluminum crush zones in the front and rear. The Solo's body is made from the same strong but lightweight aluminum composite as the floor on a Boeing 787.

Three-wheeled electric vehicle set to go on sale next year
This Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, photo provided by Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. shows the dashboard and steering panel of the 2017 Electra Meccanica Solo, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The three-wheeled, electric one-seater could soon go on sale in the U.S. and Canada. (Jeff Vinnick/Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. via AP)

The Solo has two front wheels and one rear wheel and is 10 feet long, or about 14 inches longer than a Smart car. It looks pretty normal in front: It's nearly as wide as the Smart and has a hood, headlights and grille. But it tapers off sharply in the back. There's a plug hidden under its license plate.

The Solo is powered by a lithium-ion battery that can go 100 miles on a charge. It takes three hours to fully charge the battery using a 220-volt outlet or six hours using a 110-volt outlet. It has a top speed of 80 mph and goes from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds, which is equivalent to a Toyota Camry.

The Solo has some fancy features, like a digital instrument display, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows and keyless entry. Air conditioning costs extra. It comes in red, black, silver and white.

Three-wheeled electric vehicle set to go on sale next year
This undated photo provided by Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. shows the Solo, a one-seater made by the Vancouver, Canada-based company. The three-wheeled electric car could soon go on sale in the U.S. and Canada. (Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. via AP)

Electra Meccanica expects its customers to be urban commuters who want an environmentally friendly vehicle. It says 80 percent of commuters currently drive alone, and the average U.S. commute is 50 miles roundtrip, which would be well within the Solo's range.

The U.S. and Canadian governments are certifying the vehicle now and will let the company know if it will qualify for tax credits and other incentives, like use in carpool lanes, Holland said.

Once that process is completed, the company plans to open stores and start deliveries, he said. Electra Meccanica is currently reviewing 35 applications to open dealerships worldwide.

  • Three-wheeled electric vehicle set to go on sale next year
    This Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, photo provided by Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. shows the 2017 Electra Meccanica Solo, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The three-wheeled, electric one-seater could soon go on sale in the U.S. and Canada. (Jeff Vinnick/Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. via AP)
  • Three-wheeled electric vehicle set to go on sale next year
    This Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, photo provided by Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. shows the 2017 Electra Meccanica Solo, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The three-wheeled, electric one-seater could soon go on sale in the U.S. and Canada. (Jeff Vinnick/Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. via AP)

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User comments

Sep 09, 2016
Clarkson must put this tripod through the Reliant Robin test drive.

Sep 09, 2016
These were my exact first thoughts. Plus that it looks to have exactly 0" of ground clearance. What happens when it hits a pothole or a foot of snow?

Sep 09, 2016
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Sep 09, 2016
Clarkson must put this tripod through the Reliant Robin test drive.


It wouldn't roll the same because the Reliant had a single front wheel. Two front wheels is stable in turns, although making a sharp turn at speed can make it lift a wheel - the single rear wheel makes it easy to spin though. If the back wheel starts to hydroplane, or it's vibrating over bumps and takes some air, it loses sideways traction and the car can do a pirouette.

but the cars in city transportation


Good thing that canadian/american cities don't usually have cobblestone streets. Those get hazardous for bikes and trikes in rain or snow.

Sep 09, 2016
Rather have the 4 wheel chevy cruz for the same price more room and stability

Sep 09, 2016
It's electric.

Sep 09, 2016
At 15K it does not make sense. For 13-15K you can buy a four seater car with good milage. Why would you give up the ability to take at least one other rider when needed? And give up on airbags and such?

Sep 09, 2016
For 13-15K you can buy a four seater car with good milage.


In that price class, a regular car loses in fuel cost and maintenance over the lifetime of the car.

And give up on airbags and such?

A single seater monocoque design doesn't really need airbags because the driver is better isolated in the middle of the vehicle, as long as they're firmly belted to their seat. The driver has more space around them so the crumple zones can deal with the crash.


Sep 11, 2016
The fact that this vehicle is 3 wheels just highlights the fact that government regulations hamper progress. If it had a fourth wheel it could not be produced under current regulations. Just wait until the first one crashes and results in an injury. The lawyers will be hovering over the so called "Victims" like vultures waiting to feast upon the bones of the company that produced the vehicle.

Sep 13, 2016
Minor problem, there is already a 3 wheel electric vehicle in production - the Morgan EV3

Sep 13, 2016
Minor problem, there is already a 3 wheel electric vehicle in production - the Morgan EV3


That's a roadster with no roof.

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