This Electric Car Starts At Only $18,500, But You Only Get Three Wheels

Electric cars typically come with two things: high price and high social status. Sure, there are exceptions to this, such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and even the Tesla Model 3; but overall, the most notable EVs of today (Tesla Model S, Lucid Air,and the Rivian R1T, for example) have MSRPs above $75,000. Even the cheaper ones like the Nissan Leaf and company start in the upper $20,000 price range. While paying $20,000 for an electric vehicle may not sound that bad, there is one company that makes even those baseline models look overpriced. The Electra Meccanica Solo is an electric car that starts at a much more affordable $18,500

Like many EVs, the Electra Meccanica Solo looks, well, different than what most auto buyers are accustomed to. However, being different hasn't always been a bad thing. Remember, the original Tesla Roadster was also considered "different," though it is this very vehicle that helped catalyze the launch of the Electra Meccanica in 2020

A truly affordable EV

Buyers of the Solo will definitely be going about their day solo. Electra Meccanica dubbed its first production-ready car the Solo, and that's likely a reflection of two things: the fact that it has only one rear wheel, and that it only has one seat.  When we drove the Solo earlier this year, we loved the individuality of it because of the social distancing that was going on, though now this may not be all that entirely viable if you have a partner, child, or otherwise drive with others in the vehicle on a regular basis. 

Nonetheless, there are certainly a few things that are viable about the Solo. For one, it has 100 miles of range, which is more than enough to get you through the average daily commute, with a coffee shop and a grocery stop in between. It is also rather practical, because while it does only have one seat, it has two doors, meaning buyers of the Electra Meccanica Solo will get the luxury of being able to enter their car on either side. Or, they can choose whether they want to be American or British for the day. Try doing that in a Nissan Leaf. 

Who is Electra Meccanica?

Now that we've captured your attention, let's look into who Electra Meccanica is. This Canadian company is looking to change the way you think about electric cars. The expectation for electric cars has always been that they must at least be at par with regular gas-powered cars, especially in terms of range and usability. It is for this reason that most EVs failed, such as GM's EV1, which lasted all of 3 years in production because it did none of that. However, Electra Meccanica's halo car, the Solo, aims to give buyers a new mindset. 

Electra Meccanica thinks it has done just enough to its car to allow people to adapt to its quirkiness while creating a brand-new target audience: an audience who buys a car solely to get to work, a coffee shop, a grocery store, and back home — nothing more. In other words, Electra Meccanica isn't targeting those who need 300+ miles of range and space to carry family members on trips, simply because that isn't the purpose of the Solo. 

Meet the Solo

The average commute, according to Electra Meccanica, is 40 miles. The Solo comes with 100 miles of range, which is more than enough to do your commute. Evidently, this car isn't meant for much more than that, but many people — especially those who live in dense urban areas — don't drive much further than work on a regular basis. Basic items like a briefcase, a few bags of groceries, and a set of gym clothes fit just fine in the back of the Solo. 

Obviously, this ideal situation ends if you are a family with only one car. It also begins to lose its purpose if you enjoy a sporty feel because while you do get Bluetooth, USB charging, a rear-view camera, AC, and keyless entry, it isn't exactly riveting to drive. It has a top speed of 80 mph, which is made possible by its 82 horsepower engine with 128 lb-ft of torque. All this power is sent to the singular rear wheel. It goes from 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, which is simply sluggish by any standard. 

The interior of the Solo isn't draw-dropping, considering the color variety you get is a few different shades of blacks and dark greys. However, the Solo does feature an LCD gauge cluster, which is a nice touch. What's even nicer is that it comes with a singular heated seat.

The Electra Meccanica: Hit or Miss?

As we noted when we test-drove the Electra Meccanica earlier this year, the Solo EV is "a niche vehicle for a niche market." This is exceptionally true when it's compared to regular car prices. However, what we didn't emphasize as much is how to define the Solo's niche market. 

Sure, what we are about to describe may seem niche, but it could also very much become commonplace, especially if gas remains as high as they are currently. Those who need more than one vehicle tend to have an SUV and a sedan, or worse yet, two SUVs. However, Electra Meccanica is betting on people realizing that people in this situation only need one SUV, and one commuter car — and in that aspect, they do have a point. However, the future of Electra Meccanica depends on them being able to make people share this ideal, and that is the hardest part.