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Why the Electra Meccanica Solo 3-Wheeler Has Just 3 Wheels

In recent years, many more automakers have started to develop more sustainable options for their vehicles. Many of Ford’s popular cars, like the F-150 and the Mustang, will have all-electric or hybrid variants in a few years. The German brand Audi promises to release 30 electric vehicles by 2025.

Obviously, electric cars are beneficial to the environment because they cut down the pollution in the air we breathe. Electricity to charge the car’s battery also costs significantly less than gas. Some of the newest electric cars also have neat design elements that make them stand out from the rest. Let’s look at the Electra Meccanica Solo, a punchy little electric car with just three wheels.

What is Electra Meccanica?

Electra Meccanica is relatively new to the automotive world, founded in 2015. One of the founders, Frank Reisner, got his start by creating custom sports cars in 1969. In 2012, he began collaborating with Jerry Kroll on an all-electric prototype that would become today’s Solo 3-wheeler.

Kroll, who would also become a founder, is a former racecar driver with a big passion for electric cars. With the help of Reisner’s decades of building expertise, the two were able to release the first Solo 3-wheeler in 2016. So far, the company has developed two other electric vehicles: the Tofino and the eRoadster.

The Electra Meccanica Solo 3-wheeler

The Solo gets its name thanks to its single front seat. Under the hood, there’s an electric motor rated at 82 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. It has a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour, making a good candidate for both highway and city driving. 

Its driving range is notably short, only 100 miles. Still, if you’re mainly using the vehicle to commute to work, it shouldn’t be an issue. It can reach a full charge in as little as 3 hours.

One glaring concern is the Solo’s limited seating. A car that can only seat one is not a great pick for families. Another thing we’re not thrilled about is the lack of basic safety features. While it does have seat belts and a roll bar, there are currently no airbags inside the Solo. The automaker has promised that these will be added in the future.

Why just 3 wheels?

Automakers often have an easier time designing 3-wheelers because of the lack of regulatory restrictions and better stability. While the Solo is marketed as a single commuter car, it’s technically registered as a motorcycle. This means that it has a few perks over traditional cars, like the ability to use carpool lanes.

A car with just three wheels also provides a unique driving experience. According to Kroll, the Solo 3-wheeler offers as much fun as an escaped “Disney ride.” Business Insider reported that the car provided plenty of enjoyment thanks to its ability to zip around traffic. Other critics, like the guys at MotorTrend, felt that the car’s steering wasn’t very refined.

Could 3-wheeled cars become a trend?

The Solo isn’t the first vehicle to lack a fourth wheel in the back. A number of microcars with three wheels were produced in Europe, like the Burgflake FB 250 and the Reliant Regal. Examples of more modern 3-wheelers include the electric T-Rex motorcycle and the Morgan electric roadster.

Depending on the success of the Solo in the United States, we may see more 3-wheeled cars in the future. The Solo currently has an MSRP of around $20,000. Because of its limited space and little technology offerings, some may consider the 3-wheeler to be a waste of money. However, it’s definitely a competitive price for an all-electric vehicle.