British Columbia·Our Vancouver

B.C. single-seat automaker aims to break into the electric car market

Jerry Kroll has been in the racing car business for years. He used his knowledge of designing those driving experiences to come up with a single seat commuter car for the mainstream buyer. The company is now taking orders and hopes to make and sell 200,000 of them in 2017.

New Westminster's Electra Meccanica designs single-seat cars that are sold world-wide

Vancouver company Electra Meccanica hoping to break into market with single seat car

6 years ago
Duration 5:41
The Solo is now being made in B.C.'s Lower Mainland

Jerry Kroll is no stranger to getting behind the wheel.

He's a race-car driver by trade, and has represented numerous professional motorists, including the late B.C. driver Greg Moore.

Kroll is also the CEO of Electra Meccanica, a local company aiming to bring a single-seat electric car to the global electric car market.

"My background is motor sports — and all the cars a race car driver wants to drive are single seaters," he told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's Our Vancouver.

The Solo, designed by Electra Meccanica, is a single-seat electric car that runs on three wheels. (Electra Meccanica)

"Applying that to the commuter world, [where] many people are driving by themselves... it just made a lot of sense."

 A different kind of commute

Kroll says 83 per cent of people drive by themselves in a typical four-person car that occupies a full parking spot.

But his brainchild, the three-wheeled single-seater called Solo, takes less than half of that space and still offers the driver enough room for a full cart of groceries in the trunk.

He thinks it's the next step in the evolution of vehicles.

"You don't use your laptop when you walk along the sidewalk to check your e-mail. You use a smaller device that's mission specific."

The Solo fleet was designed in New Westminster. (Electra Meccanica)

The vehicle is approved for highway use and can reach a speed of 130 km/h. It takes about four hours to fully charge the lithium ion battery after it's been fully drained.

The first fleet of Kroll's Solo is being built in collaboration with world-renowned coach builder Intermeccanica.

While Intermeccanica has long specialized in building replica Porsche Speedsters and Roadsters, the company is now turning its attention to the mass market with Solo.

"You've got businesses wanting to use this as a delivery vehicle," Kroll said, adding that it's also a perfect fit for new drivers since they won't be distracted by passengers,

He said they are looking into making an autonomous model that would be driverless.

The Solo retails for $20,000 each and Kroll said he hopes to have 200,000 of the vehicles built within the next twelve months.

Click here to watch Kroll chat with Gloria Macarenko

With files from CBC's Our Vancouver