Autocycles Are Here, Even If They Face Slow Public Acceptance
In an article posted yesterday, I discussed what an autocycle is. I also mentioned some of the realities autocycle manufacturers are facing. Those included the changing regulations recognizing them as a separate vehicle class from a motorcycle, a growing shift to, and acceptance of, electric motivation, and the psychological barriers for consumers who want to stay with the crowd, versus purchasing something out of the norm. Today, I will go over some of the autocycle manufacturers that are making headway in the marketplace. There are even a few more that soon are just starting out.
The Elio Motors Elio
In 2009, Paul Elio formed Elio Motors with the intention of introducing a three-wheeled, dual passenger, enclosed autocycle driven by an internal combustion engine. Since then, several prototypes have appeared. The company even has spent a lot of money and time setting up supplier relationships and developing a new engine. Then, sadly, the company fell into some legal and financial battles. So, the company’s forward progress has seemingly been almost at a standstill as of late. At one time, the goal was to bring to market an autocycle under $7,000 that achieved 84 miles-per-gallon. But, the target price has since changed. Right now, however, Elio’s re-appearance in the marketplace is questionable.
The Electra Meccanica Solo
In the meantime, however, other companies have appeared on the scene with their own autocycles driven by electric motivation instead. Electra Meccanica is such an example. The Canadian company introduced a three-wheeled, enclosed, electric vehicle built for one person, called the Solo.
According to Electra Meccanica’s website, the Solo has a 100-mile range, 2.5 hour charge time, and a top speed of 80 miles-per-hour. Though small, the Solo is still big enough to put a week’s worth of groceries in the rear. The Solo is already being sold in Canada and on the west coast of the United States. Plans are for further expansion within two years to many other states. Pricing in the US starts at $18,500.
The Arcimoto FUV
Arcimoto has an electric autocycle called the FUV. The American company is selling them on the west coast of the US with a starting price of $19,900. The vehicle has a range of 102 miles and a top speed of 75 miles-per-hour. The FUV is also being tested for use as a last-mile delivery vehicle, and for first responder roles. So, a broadening roll out of the FUV is imminent.
The Sondors Electric Car
Sondors is a name usually associated with electric bicycles. But, the California company also sees an opportunity to bring a small electric vehicle to market. So, it began the development of the Sondors Electric Car, an enclosed autocycle with up to a 300-mile electric range and the ability to have two passengers in addition to the driver. The development of the vehicle is still ongoing. So, no top speed, charge times, nor pricing is provided on their website. However, in an interview with Business Insider last year, zero-to-sixty was divulged at 5.8 seconds, and a target price of $10,000 was disclosed. The vehicle is still undergoing research and development, but a prototype has been filmed. So, it is not all just vaporware.
Helix Motors is also trying its hand at an electric autocycle. Although the US company has been around for a few years, there is very little information currently available about the actual product. That is purposeful, according to Robin Lee, Vice President of Helix Motors International. She said in a video on the company’s Youtube channel that the company does not want to promote the product until they are ready. What can be determined, however, is that the product that is currently in development is a tilting, electric autocycle.
The Polaris Slingshot
The Polaris Slingshot is an autocycle driven by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine. It has an open cockpit and is one of the few autocycles that has seen relative success. It has futuristic styling and is larger than the others mentioned before. Polaris also makes off-road side-by-sides. So, the company is familiar with how to put a fun package together. The 2020 Slingshot SL starts at $26,499. Its top speed is limited to 125 miles-per-hour. No miles-per-gallon rating is given on the company’s website for the Slingshot.
There are, of course, other manufacturers. But, there just is not space enough to write about all of them here. Some of them are even geared for consumers looking for higher-end products. Morgan and Vanderhall come to mind. Internal combustion engines drive both of those. But, many more manufacturers exist.
Consumers are warming up to autocycles
Autocycles seem to be gaining momentum with consumers. Elio had over 60,000 reservations before going dark. Some of the other manufacturers are also seeing people eagerly paying for a place in the ownership line, or willing to take part in funding initiatives. So, consumers are warming up to the autocycle idea. Also, the interest will continue to grow as the general public sees more of them moving from production lines, into people’s garages, and even into local car shows. So, as far as the autocycle market goes, growth will come time. For now, though, the few vehicles above, and others that are out there are making headway, albeit slowly.
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