The Electra Meccanica proposes a different solution to moving people around with its three-wheeled electric car, the SOLO. The SOLO is built as the ultimate single person people mover, on the premise that the vast majority of trips we take are with a single person in the car.
The proposition and the car Electra Meccanica has created is gaining traction with the public, and the company has racked up more than 23,000 reservations for the SOLO at its target MSRP of $15,500. The follow-up to the SOLO, a fully electric two seater roadster dubbed the Tofino, has also racked up another 40,000+ reservations at its target MSRP of $50,000. Together, the backlog represents $2.4 billion in reservations for Electra Meccanica’s vehicles and shows that there is a healthy amount of pent up demand for sporty, innovative electric vehicles.
We have covered the SOLO in the past, so what’s new? After a successful trial run of SOLO production in Vancouver, Electra Meccanica is ramping up larger scale production in the factory of its strategic partner, Zongshen, in Chongqing, China in preparation for the official launch of SOLO production in 2019.
Many of the first 40 SOLOs were delivered to customers, but a handful were also used for commercial and regulatory testing. A select few were handed off to commercial customers to vet the SOLO in a variety of potential use cases to see how they would fare. Sadly, a sacrificial few were even sent off for safety testing and smashed into itty bitty pieces. Ok, maybe not itty bitty, but definitely smashed. It’s for the greater good, people.
To move beyond batch production, Electra Meccanica signed a deal with Zongshen Industrial Group Co., Ltd to build the electric vehicle in larger quantities from its factory in Chongqing. After months of vetting the new factory, the first few shipments of SOLOs from the new factory are set to head out in the first quarter of 2019. The new factory includes everything needed to build the SOLO and run it through standardized quality assurance testing prior to shipping them to customers.
Production at the Zongshen factory will continue to ramp up throughout 2019 as the company works through the backlog of reservations with deliveries to customers. They took us inside the factory with a new video tour that spotlights the manufacturing space and processes used to put the SOLO together.
The video shows a bit of the behind the scenes at the new assembly factory for the SOLO, which is clearly still in the early stages of ramping up production. The general assembly portion of most automotive factories are arranged in long assembly lines, flanked on either side by large cabinets full of the parts required for each station and the tools needed to install them.
The Electra Meccanica factory doesn’t appear to have been stocked with a full inventory of spare parts, but has all the core functionality that’s required to assemble a vehicle. On the other hand, the smaller footprint of the SOLO lends itself to a more streamlined production process with less parts, fewer steps, and less touches required to put it all together.
“I am very pleased with our team’s progress to date,” said Electra Meccanica COO, Henry Reisner. “Having driven the 2019 SOLO myself, I’m convinced we have a winning car on our hands. Now we get to the business of final calibration, initiation of production and delivering them in significant numbers in 2019 and beyond.”
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