I have discussed before that autocycles have had a hard time gaining traction in the United States. Before they can become a huge success, they first have to prove to the consumer that a vehicle with three wheels is okay. Once that is achieved, then autocycles will move from niche markets and into the broader mass market like their motorcycle cousins. Nobe is one of several companies that is trying to break through that mental glass ceiling in recent years by bringing, or attempting to bring, an electric motivated autocycle to market in the United States.
The Nobe is an autocycle
Autocycles are three-wheeled enclosed vehicles. Some are directed by motorcycle handlebar controls. Others have traditional steering wheel automotive controls. Many states do not require a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license in order to drive an autocycle on public roads. The classically designed Nobe GT100 is considered an autocycle and uses the traditional steering wheel control.
Nobe is coming to the United States
The Nobe GT100 was created by a company in Estonia. However, the manufacturer sees the United States as a potentially large market for its product. So, it has embarked on a path to bring manufacturing of the Nobe GT100 to the United States. To that end, the company has submitted its autocycle to Munro and Associates for manufacturing evaluation.
“In Geneva, we already received advance orders from Europe and American customers. In America, we are proud to have entered a strategic alliance with Munro & associates so that we can launch and build the Nobe 100 in the US. Together, our goal is to make Nobe 100 the stylish, high quality, eco-friendly car of the future that fits into everyone’s life today. Please join us in our venture!” – Roman Muljar, CEO Nobe Cars
The Nobe GT100 details
There are two models available from Nobe, the GT100 and the GT100 Signature Series. Both models have 3 wheels, 3 Seats, a removable panoramic top, air conditioning, heating, power windows, leather, and all-wheel drive. There is also mention of an optional “M switch” for a muscle car mode, an air suspension, and a built-in coffee machine. The GT100 Signature Series will also receive some limited edition touches for 100 units. They will have a BSM sound system, special badging, a service package, and a door umbrella.
Electric motivation for the daily commute
The Nobe GT100 will be motivated by electric power, the automotive industry’s newest technology push. This will give the autocycle an expected range of 160 miles before needing a recharge. The vehicle can also achieve 80 mph. So, it seems that the three-wheeler can handle a typical commuter’s day.
Two obstacles in Nobe’s path
Sadly, the path to bring the Nobe products to the United States is uphill and contains two obstacles that are apparent from the outset. First, autocycle companies that have come before Nobe are still trying to make headway. Elio Motors tried it and has gone silent in recent years. The Solo, by Electra Meccanica, is starting to have some start-up success, but only on a small scale because of its infancy right now. SAM is another overseas company that has tried to come to the United States but has been tied up in paperwork. Sondors seemed to be making progress in bringing its own autocycle to life, but has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and having to deal logistics with Italy. The only real standout is the Polaris Slingshot, which is not electric.
The second obstacle for Nobe coming to the United States is the price point for the GT100 and GT100 Signature Series. The previously mentioned autocycle manufacturers have their products priced under $20,000. According to Nobe’s website, the GT100 models are expected to have around a $39,000 starting price. That price point is more in line with a daily driver, not a second or third car for the family. A three-wheeler for a daily driver is a huge mental hurdle even if it is all-wheel drive and “the cute-o-meter goes through the roof” as Nobe says on their website. It still only seats three people. However, the GT100 is more wallet-friendly than the autocycle offerings from Vanderhall and Morgan, which have internal combustion engines.
Nobe’s GT100 is pricey, but so was the Tesla Model S
The Nobe GT100 and GT100 Signature Series are attractively styled vehicles. The electric aspect should also appeal to those looking for a switch from internal combustion engines. While the all-wheel drive ingredient of the autocycle is something that consumers that drive in winter-weather states will appreciate, the price point, however, may be detrimental to a purchasing decision. Then again, Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, started with a pricey product. Since then, that automaker has been working backward toward a more economically enticing lineup. Keep in mind, though, that the Model S was meant to be a daily driving family vehicle. It might be hard to convince consumers the same of a three-wheel, three-seater.