Climbing into the Solo, a single-occupant vehicle from Canadian electric car manufacturer ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp., feels exactly like getting into any type of car, said Kevin Pavlov, the chief executive. The only difference is that you can put both your elbows on the windows at the same time.
“You can adjust the mirrors with each hand, but they are powered mirrors, so you don’t need to do that,” Pavlov said.
In the San Fernando Valley area, ElectraMeccanica has two facilities: a retail information center at the Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks; and a delivery preparation and service center in Studio City.
The retail information center allows people to see the Solo, schedule a test drive and sign up for a reservation to buy the vehicle at a price of $18,500 – all done online, Pavlov said.
The Studio City location is where the Solo vehicles are brought after arriving at the Port of Long Beach, from China, where they are made by a contract manufacturing partner and investor Zongshen Industrial Group Co. Ltd. The company is currently building an assembly facility for the Solo in Mesa, Ariz. set to open at the end of next year.
“(They) come straight to that facility where we do our standard preparation work and deliver them to customers,” Pavlov said, in reference to the Studio City location, where Solos also get serviced.
“We park our mobile service vans and some of our special delivery vehicles (there) so we can load up to five vehicles on a delivery platform and do direct deliveries from that location,” Pavlov said.
The three-wheeled, single seat electric Solo is technically classified as a motorcycle but feels and rides like a car. It comes with the all the standard features of a modern auto – power steering and power brakes, LED headlights, keyless entry and rear-view backup camera. The lithium-ion batteries can charge in as little as three hours and provide a range of 100 miles. Its top speed is more than 80 miles per hour, making it suitable for freeway driving.
“The Solo is everything you need for personal transportation and everything you don’t need, like an oversized motor, additional seats, difficulty parking,” Pavlov said.
Because it is classified as a motorcycle, insurance is less expensive, he added.
started delivering the Solo this month, it chose Universal City as the location for its delivery event. It was selected because there were a significant number of reservation holders residing in the Los Angeles area, Pavlov said.
“When we were able to pull the trigger and begin to do the deliveries, we selected those folks who had been on the reservation list as well as some of the fleets,” he added. “We targeted that area because it is a logical starting point.”
Six individual customers and four fleet customers received cars on Oct. 4 at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City hotel.
“They were ecstatic, beaming,” Pavlov said. “We did the transactions right there and they drove the Solos away. Some of them did a couple of victory laps.”
The fleet customers were footwear manufacturer Skechers USA Inc. in Manhattan Beach, Cyber Yogurt in El Monte, a Ruby’s Diner franchise in Mission Viejo and Faction Technology, a South San Francisco company developing its own line of three-wheeled self-driving vehicles.
“Faction is focused on enabling driverless electric vehicles that are right-sized for delivery and ride-on-demand,” said Faction Chief Executive Ain McKendrick. “We’re excited to add Solo to our development fleet and look forward to collaborating with ElectraMeccanica to evolve the future of urban mobility.”
Pavlov sees the electric vehicle market growing at a rapid pace because of government support and awareness about the vehicles in the news.
He also thinks it will grow because consumers will enjoy the product.
“They will enjoy the savings they get, the flexibility, the quiet and a whole bunch of other elements that will come with these vehicles.” Pavlov said.
ElectraMeccanica positions itself between micro-mobility – bikes, scooters and such – and passenger cars, he said. The Solo fits in the EV market with all the creature comforts of a car and the convenience and savings of micro-mobility, he added.
“We were told by several customers that it is what an EV should be – efficient, easy and fun,” Pavlov said.
– Mark R. Madler