Electrek not too long ago obtained the chance to check out the ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV for just a few days and see what this single-passenger vessel can do. Small however speedy, the SOLO provides enjoyable for single-rider drivers, and a picture-worthy expertise for anybody you drive previous.
ElectraMeccanica Autos Company and the SOLO EV
ElectraMeccanica Autos Corp. ($SOLO) is an EV designer and producer primarily based in Vancouver, BC, that has been growing its three-wheeled, single-passenger EV known as the SOLO since 2015.
The SOLO EV was particularly designed with commuting and deliveries in thoughts, as its compact dimension makes it excellent for city circumstances. That being stated, its 100-mile vary and high velocity of 80 mph makes it completely sufficient for freeway journey as properly – should you’re courageous sufficient (extra on that later).
Final October, ElectraMeccanica started delivering its flagship SOLO EV to prospects and has continued doing so for each customers and business fleets since. It should quickly be adopted by a Cargo model providing twice the capability, scheduled to start deliveries in Q2 of this yr.
Since Electrek first heard concerning the SOLO EV in 2015, we now have been protecting shut tabs on ElectraMeccanica’s progress, following the automaker from setup of its US manufacturing in Mesa, Arizona, to its most up-to-date information of testing autonomous meals deliveries with the startup, Faction.
I lastly obtained the chance to expertise the SOLO EV myself and share a overview, right here’s the way it went.
Preliminary ideas inside and outside of the SOLO EV
Even after years of seeing the ElectraMeccanica SOLO in photos, movies, and even close-up views at my native mall, I used to be nonetheless not ready for the way distinctive of a car it’s. There are tiny features to its design that fully make sense for a one-seater EV, but nonetheless really feel fairly international as you drive.
As an illustration, two doorways. Makes full sense from a design standpoint, as the motive force can enter from both aspect, however it’s nonetheless an uncanny feeling in comparison with a typical entrance cabin with two seats. Which door to enter? Which to exit? These will not be selections you usually face as a driver.
Identical goes for the home windows – one change on every door. In my EV, I can management all 4 of my home windows from my driver’s seat with one hand. Rolling down the home windows within the SOLO required each arms. Not a problem in any respect, simply completely different.
Identical goes for the seatbelt. As a US driver, I sit and pull my seatbelt from my left shoulder throughout my physique, however within the SOLO, its on the suitable. I persistently discovered myself subconsciously grabbing at air over my left shoulder. Once more, these are non-issues, merely divergent, but endearing options that make this EV distinctive.
The SOLO takes so much longer to start out up than a standard EV, as you need to flip the important thing for no less than three seconds earlier than the car is actually on and able to journey. As soon as that cost is primed although, you’re off to the races.
Earlier than I obtained my supply, I hoped I’d get the pink exterior SOLO, and my want got here true. It’s a shade that actually pops on high of an already distinctive trying three-wheeler, and it solely provides to the SOLO’s name to be observed as you zoom round in it.
Lastly, I do know it is a small, one seat car, however I used to be nonetheless stunned at how minimal the cargo area was. You possibly can positively match just a few luggage of groceries in it, however area is definitely restricted. I’d have an interest to see how the double cargo area on the upcoming SOLO variant compares.
Driving the SOLO
If you step into the cabin of the SOLO, it’s extra like a cockpit, simply you and the street. Like all EVs, the moment torque of the motor supplies sufficient oomph to get going rapidly, and the SOLO’s low middle of gravity and quick flip radius makes it excellent for sharp, fast maneuvering.
Zipping (that’s the proper phrase to explain this journey) across the South Bay of Los Angeles, there’s no scarcity of electrical autos, bikes, or golf carts. Nonetheless, everybody stopped of their tracks to look at me cruise by within the SOLO. That was simply my greatest takeaway from my time with the EV – everybody desires to take an image of it or ask you about it, as a result of it’s not like something they’ve ever seen.
I took the pink SOLO as much as Beverly Hills for an unrelated EV occasion, which required a while on the freeway. Getting onto the freeway and navigating previous different autos was pretty straightforward, though it was unusual not having a rear view mirror (your personal head and seat would hinder your view, even should you had one).
To compensate for this lack of rear sight, the SOLO is provided with bigger aspect view mirrors, providing wider visibility. They did simply positive, however it nonetheless was slightly scary making lane adjustments primarily based on these mirrors alone, as you’ll be able to’t see behind you or actually flip over your shoulder to double verify any potential blindspots.
Whereas the SOLO can definitely maintain its personal at freeway speeds, I used to be simply as desperate to hit the offramp to decrease speeds with fewer vehicles round me. I used to be stunned to study that the EV doesn’t have lots of the usual security gear required for 4 wheel autos like airbags or anti-lock brakes.
Can it drive on the freeway? Completely. Do you have to really feel protected within the SOLO on the freeway? That’s subjective, however I personally drove fairly defensively to make sure my very own security in such a tiny car and would suggest sticking to native roads.
Throughout my 4 days with the SOLO EV, I drove it round (principally regionally, other than the journey to BH) and had no points with vary. I discovered the 100 miles on a single cost fully sufficient.
General, I had an entire blast with the SOLO EV, and had a number of folks ask me to roll down my window at cease lights to ask the place they’ll get one for themselves. After testing the EV up and down the hills of Hermosa Seashore, on the dreaded 405, and up and down the Pacific Coast Freeway, I’d positively suggest the SOLO as a neighborhood electrical car (NEV).
For one particular person cruising to the shop or to work, its excellent, so long as you’re not hauling an excessive amount of. I personally assume the Cargo model of the SOLO would possibly show to be extra helpful, because it appears like a wonderful zero-emissions choice for meals or grocery deliveries. These autos normally keep fairly native and received’t have to journey on highways as a lot.
All in all, I’m grateful for the chance to drive ElectraMeccanica’s SOLO EV and expertise all its allure for myself, in addition to all of the curious pedestrians I zipped previous alongside the best way. I’m to see the Cargo model up shut subsequent to check its accessible area.
As a cool little native commuter NEV, I say go for it, however as a freeway car I say – keep native. On the very least, see if there’s an ElectraMeccanica retail location or check drive occasion close to you. The SOLO EV is totally value experiencing, even whether it is only a check drive to start out.
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