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The SOLO Three-Wheeler EV Is "the Volkswagen Beetle of the 21st Century"

If all this time that has passed since the invention of the automobile has taught us something, is that people are very reluctant to give up on their cars and use a different means of transport, even if it would mean less time spent in traffic and lower costs.
Electra Meccanica SOLO 3 photos
Electra Meccanica SOLOElectra Meccanica SOLO
People love to drive, they love their cars and they want to spend as much time in each other's company, so the logical speech of why using public transport or a bicycle would be better has virtually zero chances of succeeding. However, if you could offer these people a better alternative that they can still drive, but is cleaner and less prone to traffic jams, you might have struck gold.

That's what Canadian Electra Meccanica company thinks it has done with the SOLO, a weird vehicle that's hard to describe in one word. It's a single-seater three-wheeled electric vehicle that comes with a fully enclosed body (unlike the Renault Twizy, for example) and the claim to be "the VW Beetle of the 21st century." Its creators also describe it as "wearing Robert Downey Jr.'s Ironman suit."

Don't take these two statements literally, though, as they belong to one of the two men behind the creation of SOLO. They are Henry Reisner and Jerry Kroll, both of whom have had long lasting ties with the automotive industry one way or another. The SOLO is based on the premise that 90 percent of driving is done without a passenger, so there's no need to carry all that car with you while you do it.

It's hard to argue against that, but the SOLO does come with a big eyebrow raiser, and that is its price. It may be quite fun to drive - it only weighs 992 lb (450 kg) and has an 82 hp motor that can take the EV to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just eight seconds - and quite useful around town, but you have to wonder who would be willing to pay upwards of $15,359 for what will undoubtedly be the third vehicle in a household. The fact it can only carry one person and has a very limited cargo area makes it some sort of weird bicycle and EV hybrid.

The SOLO will begin production next month, luring its clients with speeds of up to 75 mph (120 km/h) and an estimated range of 125 miles (200 km). This, coupled with the fact it only needs three hours plugged into a 220 V outlet to completely replenish its 8.64 kWh battery, means that the SOLO might be an attractive solution for those living outside the city as well. The only real aspect that remains an issue is safety: anyone who has ever driven a Caterham next to a semi knows what we're talking about.


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