This Electric Three-Wheel Car Aiming To Revolutionize Travel Has A Fatal Flaw

Electric vehicle maker Electra Meccanica (EMV) is going through a tumultuous time. Just weeks ago, the company announced the discontinuation of its Solo three-wheeler to focus on conventional four-wheel electric cars. Now, the company has announced the recall of its Solo (G2 and G3 models) over a fatal flaw that leads to "loss of propulsion," while also revealing plans for a buyback from existing customers. Now, this isn't a flaw uniquely affecting Electra Meccanica's head-turner three-wheeled EVs. Ford recalled around 49,000 Mustang Mach-E electric cars over the loss of propulsion power risks early in 2022. Volkswagen did the same with roughly 21,000 electric SUVs over propulsion loss issues originating from battery software woes. Mercedes issued a recall for over a million vehicles over propulsion issues stemming from water ingress in 2022, and announced another recall for approximately 324,000 vehicles citing similar fears earlier this year. 

In the case of Electra Meccanica, the affected models include the Solo G2 and G3 trims from the years 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023, amounting to a total of 429 affected units. The issue raises its head when a "BMS" or "Motor Icon" warning light goes off on the instrument cluster, leading to a gradual deceleration of the car as if the driver has lifted their foot from the acceleration pedal. Thankfully, when the propulsion problem arises, the vehicle still maintains control over critical systems such as brakes, steering wheel, and onboard lights.

Ending dreams of EV grandeur

Electra Meccanica notes that "in most instances," drivers can pull over to assuage any further risks, and, so far, no fatalities have been reported. Notably, the company hasn't yet zeroed in on the root cause behind the propulsion problem. Therefore, in lieu of a solution, the EV upstart has decided to buy back all the affected G2 and G3 units. Electra Meccanica says it will buy qualifying units from customers, assuming they are in "roadworthy" condition and haven't been modified. The carmaker's buyback pay will depend on factors like the bill price, taxes, discounts, and any other associated costs. Existing customers will have to provide documents – including the Bill of Sale, Power of Attorney, Title, and Repurchase Agreement – in order to be eligible for the recall and buyback initiative.

For folks hoping to keep the car as a collectible given its unique design and appeal, EMV warns that it won't provide any further warranty and repair support for the cars. The recall is a big blow to Electro Meccanica's ambitions of serving a one-of-a-kind, affordable electric car, but it appears that the company itself wants to ride the tide instead of attempting to create a niche in a cut-throat market. Priced under $20,000, the Solo line-up wasn't quite the affordable EV of the American dreams, but it was quite a novel addition to a segment that is obsessed with dreams of AI-assisted conveniences like full-self driving, range enhancements, and charging innovations.