Published on March 22nd, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


Electric 3-Wheeler With 175 Miles Of Range

March 22nd, 2016 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

The Defiant EV from Shockwave Motors in Tennessee is a combination of many design influences. It is a three-wheeler, which reduces rolling resistance and improves aerodynamic performance. It has a top speed of over 70 mph and maximum range of 175 miles or more. Best of all, the company says the standard 100 amp/144 volt lithium-ion battery can be recharged in just 8 hours using a standard 120 volt household outlet.

Defiant EV from Shockwave Motors

Shockwave president John MacMillan tells Gas2 via email, “Convenience, low operating cost, and simplicity are what set us apart. We don’t need any new infrastructure or special charging stations – just a simple 120 volt outlet – at home or at work! This gives the roadster an effective range of up to 200 miles per day. The top speed is about 75 MPH. No other electric vehicle, with our level of performance, can get a complete recharge in about 8 hours from a standard wall outlet.”

The styling of the Shockwave Defiant is far from ordinary. It looks like a cross between a Delta Wing racecar and something that ZZ Top would feature on an album cover, mixed in with a hint of cars that were featured on The Munsters. According to Gizmag, the Defiant seats three people. The driver rides up front with space for two passengers behind. There is also a trunk at the rear for carrying things like suitcases and picnic hampers.

MacMillan claims the long wheelbase, the wide rear stance, and the majority of its weight being located in the back all keep the Defiant stable in turns. The car weighs just 1500 pounds. 0–60 with the standard battery takes under 10 seconds. Safety features include a tubular steel frame with a built-in roll bar, along with front and rear crumple zones. Road bumps are handled by a dual A arm suspension, coil-over shocks, and dual springs in both the front and rear.

Range with the standard battery is 100 miles. MacMillan says that, with the optional battery, that can be extended to 175 miles or more. Regenerative braking can help maximize range. He is hoping to begin production of the Defiant sometime this year. The expected sale price is $24,950, which includes a stereo system, heater, and defroster. The car may also be available in roadster form, for those who like their electric motoring experience to include that “wind in your hair” feeling.

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writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter. "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." Elie Wiesel

  • Brian

    This is why I feel we need to ban all SUV’s and big sport pick up trucks. As long as we allow large vehicles, small vehicles like this will never have a chance. Too many people will get killed in accidents. Most trips in big SUV’s and sport pickup trucks are with only one person anyway. So why do we need a 4 ton SUV, to transport usually only one person, when a much lighter vehicle would perform the same task. Most car trips are less than 4 miles. Vehicles like the solar powered ELF, made by Organic Transit, could replace most cars on the road, if we reduced speed limits to 35 MPH in cities and towns. This would save lives, by getting big SUV’s off the road, and reduce traffic deaths due to excessive speed. Our car centric culture worships the car, to the exclusion of anything else. Their should also be barrier protected bike lanes on most streets to allow bicyclist to safely ride, as well as BRT dedicated electric bus lanes to speed up transit in cities. Dutch style bicycle friendly intersections should also be built in every intersection to minimize bicycle deaths from cars. We need to facilitate alternatives to cars in our cities, towns, and crowded urban centers. Electric cars like the Bolt and the Nissan Leaf can be used for longer distances, but most short distances should be done by bicycle, bus, or solar electric velomobiles like the ELF.

    • ByronBradley

      One factor driving the SUV craze was their size and weight, a big heavy car being safer in crashes than a small light one. But this sets up the car version of the arms race, buyers buying big to protect themselves while not caring what that does to others. It’s literally “me over others.” To help balance this trend, I propose exponential tags and insurance rates to compensate for the menace big cars are. Additionally, no insurance should be paid on cars not driven. If a small electric cost $1 insurance to drive and a big SUV were to cost $10 many would take the small car, but especially if they’re not charged for leaving their big SUV at home. Additional incentives could be built into parking, smaller vehicles getting prime spots close to busy areas, bigger ones having to walk a bit more.

  • Bob_Wallace

    These vehicles have three wheels which lets them classify as a motorcycle and not a car. That lets them get around the crash resistance requirements for cars. And that allows them to be much lighter, more energy efficient.

    I have a feeling that if there were a lot of them on the road and people were getting killed in accidents that were survivable in a four wheel vehicle there would be a move to beef up the safety which would destroy a lot of the efficiency.

    I wonder if anyone would walk away from one of the multi-car crashes that sometimes happen in poor visibility conditions. Looks like they would turn in to skateboards.

  • Having the single wheel at the front is a terrible idea – Three wheelers are much more stable with the two wheels at the front.Tell the designer to go drive a Reliant Robin first and he would have designed it the other way.

    • ByronBradley

      I agree. Imagine making a hard turn while braking. Such a three wheel configuration (with one in front) lends itself to rolling over. Two wheels in front would be very stable.

  • Ronald Brakels

    It’s a great design with one potentially sale destroying flaw. Do you really want to buy a car with an impressive funky design and then make your date sit in the back seat while you drive?

    A two seater with the front space for storage or a baby seat might sell better. Or perhaps there could be a reclining passenger seat in the front so the passenger’s head won’t block visibility.

  • Graphite Gus

    looks great. Here’s to creative new design

  • It is very difficult for small start ups to compete in the automotive space. Modern safety features alone are worth more than the delta between this car and its likely closest competitors.

  • Bob_Wallace

    It’s interesting but if the 2017 Leaf comes in under $30k and with a 120 mile range I suspect most of the market will go to the more conventional vehicle. A five door hatchback that seats five should have a much larger market.

    With the rapid drop in battery prices Nissan should be able to add range without adding cost.

    This vehicle should appeal to those who have really long commutes and/or desire to be seen as different. I suspect there aren’t a lot of people in those categories.

    I do kind of like the 1930s look with the running boards and swept over rear fenders. Wonder if they will come with an optional Tommy gun?

    • Shane 2

      The NRA version comes with a Tommy gun as standard.

  • heinbloed

    Interesting design, the Giz-magazine has another one with the two wheels in front:

    The two together could share 1 parking space 🙂

  • joshua

    Sounds great, hopefully not another Elio…

    $24k sounds steep from the consumer perspective, but makes sense given what is being offered.

    • milliamp

      Arcimoto SRK doesn’t have as much range but it costs half that much.

      • Bob_Wallace

        It looks interesting but it doesn’t seem to actually exist as of today.

        The problem I have with machines like this is you’ve got little protection in a crash. That might be OK once all vehicles have collision avoidance systems but right now it looks like one could be turned into a bug smear on the front of an Escalade.

        • milliamp

          I don’t think Defiant EV exists yet either. Also, for $24k the standard battery is 100 miles, the 175 mile range is an upgrade. Arcimoto is 70 miles at $12k but offers an optional range upgrade to 130.

          For the previous Arcimoto prototypes look at

          They had some larger more enclosed versions but for their pilot version to go to production decided to go with a lighter weight, less expensive version. If the launch is successful I have to assume a full cage is planned for the next model release.

          (assuming they both hit production) I think Arcimoto will sell more vehicles at $12k than Defiant will for $24k so it’s clear why they went with the lighter (and easier to power) design.

          Arcimoto would cost less than some of the more expensive motorcycles and it gives better protection from the elements and better protection in a crash. It’s no Model S but it certainly isn’t priced like one either. Execution is hard but I think it’s a solid idea, plan, and design.

          • joshua

            I think the Elio stink might be driving away VC money from any 3 wheeler not coming from an established manufacturer. Considering how technically simple these things are, I assume money is their main concern.

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