Electric-vehicles: A 3-wheeled, one-seater EV now in production

ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. CEO Kevin Pavlov joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss a three-wheeled one-seater electric vehicle called "the solo" which will sell for $18,500.

Video Transcript

- Adam, we talk a lot about the electric vehicle market on this program and the future of EV sedans, SUVs, trucks and more. But what about an electric three wheeler? Kevin Pavlov is CEO and director of ElectraMeccanica Vehicles, a company making just that. Kevin, tell us more about your flagship vehicle the Solo. Now, it's a single-seat electric vehicle. And why should consumers be looking at these three-wheel single-passenger vehicles instead of your typical electric car?

KEVIN PAVLOV: Well, truly it's an opportunity. It's an underserved niche. So when you talk about an electric vehicle and you talk about the efficiency without losing the fun, you've got this challenge of saying, hey, I'm going to make something that is this very efficient, but it needs to have all the features and attributes. What normally happens with the vehicles are you have an oversized powertrain and you have an underutilized passenger compartment or a storage compartment.

So what we've done in our flagship Solo is take that and optimize it. Put a single passenger right in the center. We've reduced the passenger compartment space by almost 1/2 to 3/4. It's faster to warm up. It's faster to cool down in the summer. Fully enclosed. It allows you all the regular features of the commute. 100 miles of range, 80-plus miles an hour, very safe and stable on the freeway without having to have all the additional power train that's underneath it.

So we're talking about the efficiency of an EV, the efficiency of heating and cooling a smaller space, being able to travel in an HOV lane. This is a unique piece about it. It's classified under the motorcycle category. So you can do the HOV lane. You get breaks on the insurance cost because it's classified into the motorcycle category. But it's got everything you need that you get out of a vehicle. Power windows, power locks, a heated seat. I mentioned seat, being one.

- Is that a light in the glove compartment?

KEVIN PAVLOV: Yeah. It's got a--

- What about a light in the glove compartment?

KEVIN PAVLOV: It doesn't have the glove compartment--

- Big in the '80s, remember? Lights are on. Hey, real quick. You're already delivering. They're out there, right. But you're expanding your facility. You chose Arizona. So give us a-- what does the next year hold? Because people may want to get their hands on this.

KEVIN PAVLOV: Sure. Absolutely. So we are in production. Started in October of last year. We've been importing from China. So we have a 20,000 unit capacity partnership with Zongshen Industrial. We've been, of course, struggling like everyone else with chips, and logistics, and supply chain. But at the beginning of last year, we started to open a plant in the Phoenix area. Mesa, Arizona. It's 235,000 square feet. We'll be making a fully domestic product there.

Because we started it last year, we'll have our certificate of occupancy that we'll be able to get in middle of Q2. We've been working on the assembly line and the product and parallel up in Michigan. So we're going to bring that in. And we should be rolling first cars off by the end of the year. It's really exciting. Phoenix has given us a tremendous amount. I'd like to tip my hat to Governor Ducey and everybody. Sandra Watson. Everyone on the team there.

- Absolutely. And I'm wondering, in terms of the use case for these vehicles, you envision these as being a consumers' primary vehicle? Or is this something that consumers would be purchasing as something in addition to a main four-wheel car that could do shorter daily commutes, errands, et cetera?

KEVIN PAVLOV: It's the perfect urban mobility solution. But here's what we like to think. There's 120 million people that drive to work and back alone. There's about 20 million people that carpool. So for 120 million people, you can drive this vehicle to work and back, have the efficiencies of the lanes, where it parks, the really simplicity of parking. It's got two driver's doors. So if someone parks real close on one side, you can get out the other driver's door. There's just a whole lot of pieces to this that make it really convenient.

So you could make it your every day and have it complement your family sedan. It's great for everything you do solo. Remember, you can go to the gym. It's got a great storage space for your gym bag, all of your sundries. You can go shopping with it. We've got the fleet and commercial side of it is getting really excited about this because they can do small parcel deliveries, food deliveries.

I mean, we delivered to four fleets on October 4. And now we're delivering to over 17 fleets currently. So it's really ramping up. I think there's a real trend in the last mile delivery and the commercial pieces. We've delivered to the city of Mesa. They use them for their parking meter and other pieces. We deliver to Skechers. There's a great picture right there. They do it for their campus security. So I like to think of it as--

- Let me interrupt you.

KEVIN PAVLOV: --endless possibilities.

- Endless possibilities, which is why I bought a Powerball ticket because the $150,000 ElectraMeccanica throwback, the vehicle that looks like the Porsche of, what, like the '50s. When are we going to get our hands on this because I intend to win that Powerball.

KEVIN PAVLOV: So that vehicle continues under its development. We're working on pushing the actual price down. We've had some phenomenal advancements. This vehicle will come out in the 2023 time frame. It's going to have a another companion, so that the eRoadster. We're still have our Tofino, which is continuing to be enhanced also. So we've got a great set of product lineups. And we've got some derivatives on our fleet vehicles. We have a cargo vehicle. It's got 11 cubic feet of space. So it'll hold 14 pizzas and four 2-liter bottles of Coke. So it's pretty big back there. And we're really excited. We're just getting a tremendous response at the shows, test drives.

We have 20 kiosks around the West Coast right now. We're heading East. Stop by one. It's a $250 refundable deposit. I recommend taking a test drive. We have a bunch of them that get scheduled. I've not seen anybody got out of the car that wasn't smiling. It really is exciting to drive. Fun. And for less than $20,000, it's a very cost-effective EV, probably the only one right now in that category that does highway speeds and is fully enclosed.

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