I was driving a 3-wheeled, one-seater electric car on a minicar ride through Southern California, and I’m convinced it might change how we get from A-to-B

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

  • ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV is an electric car that can drive 100 miles on a full charge.

  • Yes, it is a 1-seater with three wheels, but it has the essential comfort of a full-size vehicle.

  • It’s a fun ride around town and it’s perfectly capable of longer motorway trips.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about elections. In the United States, there is no shortage of options when shopping for a car. You can find an unlimited stock of four-door sedans, coupes, wagons, trucks, vans – and an abundance of crossovers and SUVs and (crossover SUV coupes), supply chain crisis and shortage of semiconductor chips notwithstanding.

But I just wonder if it always makes sense to have four wheels and several empty seats when I’m on the go. How about a midsize car when I just have to run a fast errand, pick up food or just drive solo to my destination? And what if the intermediate car could be a clean energy vehicle I could plug into an electrical outlet in my garage?

I had a few weeks in October to think about those questions when I got the keys to a SOLO EV, a three-wheeled one-seater electric car from ElectraMeccanica.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

So let’s get the obvious out of the way: yes, the SOLO EV looks whimsical. People often stopped to take pictures of it while sitting in the driveway. One person jokingly asked, “Where is the rest of it?”

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

But the more I drove around Los Angeles during the hot early fall days, the more I would drive. The comfortable, well-reinforced seat, air conditioning and Bluetooth sound made the SOLO EV feel like my own personal rocket. It gets you pretty easily to a top speed of 80 miles per hour, which I found was ample for the highway.

“We’ve been working on really, really tuning in to our customers’ personal transportation needs.” This is Kevin Pavlov, CEO of ElectraMeccanica. He and the company’s CFO, Bal Bhullar, sat down with me at a delivery event in October, where holders of early reservations drove away in their own SOLO EVs.

Who really needs a single-seater electric car? That’s a fair question. Pavlov said he is convinced that there is a significant market for SOLO, be it as a fleet vehicle for last-mile deliveries, for university campuses and beyond. “I think the market will keep telling us where the niches are going and that gives us time to keep making more personal answers,” he said.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

We are at the beginning of a car revolution right now. Battery-powered electric vehicles are becoming more popular as automakers introduce new models and governments plan to phase out internal combustion engines over the next decade. Where once you could count the number of available electric cars on one hand, there are now dozens available and many more in the pipeline. And they are also getting cheaper. SOLO EV is available for $ 18,500.

Fortunately, all the talk about range anxiety in the early days of the electric car is pretty much disputed now. Most electric vehicles can run at least 200 miles on a full charge.

Rank anxiety is at least overestimated

After a few short trips close to home in the SOLO EV, I began to wonder how far I could stretch its 100-mile range. On the surface, it sounds pathetic, but considering that drivers will mostly use this for short commutes and excursions around the city, 100 miles is really more than enough.

Pavlov summed it up poetically: “Some people will drive 10 miles, some will walk 30 miles. Other people will drive it to work. And some will drive this car to find themselves.”

And that was when I got an idea. I was thinking of the very first car review I made for Business Insider back in 2015 when I was driving what was then the brand new Volvo XC90 from LA to San Francisco on one tank of gas, and thought I would try a long ride in SOLO EV. Not really to find myself, but to prove that range anxiety is actually overrated.

So I planned to take SOLO east, from LA to the High Desert, an approximately 75-mile, one-way drive.

Status at the start of the trip: 99% charge.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

The long and short of it is, this electric tricycle turned out to be a fun, skilled and versatile ride. I sailed comfortably to the desert while air conditioning flowed, music played, in the glorious solitude of my personal battery-powered trainer.

I pulled up to a drive-thru for lunch with about 26 miles of range to spare.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

Good news for me, since the ChargePoint site I was planning to visit was only a further three miles away.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

When I arrived, I walked away to enjoy my lunch and visit family. A little over two hours later, I returned and found that the SOLO EV had regained 90% of its battery charge, more than enough for the 75-mile trip home.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

Minimalist driving

In a world of cars that seems bigger and faster than ever, it’s nice to slip into something that is against all that. The SOLO EV is big enough (even for my 6-foot-2-inch frame) and fast enough to drive past gasoline-powered vehicles from a stop, thanks to the instant torque you get from the electric motor.

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV

ElectraMeccanica SOLO EV.Bryan Logan / Business Insider

And perhaps the idea of ​​”just enough” is actually appropriate for this segment of the micro-mobility space. So much the better if it helps preserve our environment.

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