Buy and Build Your Own 3-Wheel Electric Car For $13,000

Have you ever seen a Peel P50 before? The three-wheel cars are more like kiddie cars. In fact, it is considered the smallest car ever manufactured, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Built from 1962 to 1965 on the Isle of Man, with no reverse gear, a handle was provided to physically lift up one end to turn it around. Now, a company in the UK is offering electric recreations of the tiny city car as an EV you can build on your own.

P50Cars
P50Cars Peel P50 EV | P50

Yes, the Peel P50 looks like a rolling joke. Car collectors actively seek out original versions. We’ve seen prices for the very few that show up on auction sites for over $100,000. Peel originally only built around 30 examples. The three-wheelers were all powered by motorcycle engines, offering cheap transportation in the post-WWII era as things normalized in that period.

Jeremy Clarkson drove one on Top Gear, adding to its collector car status. Aiding in collectibility were the ads promoting it, like the one that proclaimed it could “seat one person and one shopping bag.” But in this age of city cars and electric vehicles of all stripes, an electrified version of the Peel could actually make some sense.

Who makes the new P50 EVs?

P50Cars
P50Cars Peel P50 EV | P50

Now, a fairly accurate representation of the Peel P50, powered by an electric motor, is available as a cheap DIY kit car. P50Cars offers it with a “high torque DC motor,” along with disc brakes. That allows it to reach a top speed of 30 mph. With the “Turbo” upgrade, that number rises to 50 mph. While more power is always good, thinking about going 50 mph in a tiny Peel seems a bit like a carnival roller coaster.

Then there are the limited edition models. Four are slated to be built with DKW gas engines that can reach 41 mph. There will also be 50 convertible models, for those finding the closed version a bit claustrophobic. It seems like that would feel like riding on top of a beach ball. 

The Peel P50 three-wheeler comes in EV or gas-powered varieties

P50Cars
P50Cars Peel P50 EV | P50

The only complete Peel P50 three-wheel you can buy is an EV, with a range of 50 miles. For a gas-engine version, the kit comes sans engine. But Peel recommends a small engine with around 50cc to 125cc. 

There is also a three-wheel Trident two-seater EV

P50Cars Trident
P50Cars Trident two-seat EV | P50

One big downside to Peel ownership is that there is no room for a passenger to share the ride with. For those with that frame of mind, there is the Peel Trident EV. These are two-seat commuter cars with those quirky looks owners in 2022 are looking for. 

Everything old is new again, and in the electric revolution taking over car ownership, everything has a shot at finding eager EV buyers. Especially those looking for a small and cheap alternative.

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