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SOLO electric vehicle targets single passenger/delivery market

Ron Walter writes about the SOLO car
BizWorld_withRonWalter
Bizworld by Ron Walter

A Canadian company plans to grab a share of the American electric vehicle market with a unique single passenger model.                 

Electra-Mechanica Vehicles Corp. of Vancouver started selling the SOLO car last fall with 42 delivered to the California market by December.

The SOLO car targets three distinct parts of the EV market: urban commuters, small cargo deliveries and ride-sharing such as taxis and work place use.

The urban commuter market seems to be the best bet with 76 per cent of urban commuters driving to work alone and not needing a larger over-built vehicle. The SOLO seems a likely second car for a family where one member uses the car mainly to go back and forth to work and for errands like shopping for groceries.

The car should appeal to small businesses, especially restaurants, wanting to deliver product on their own to customers.

The SOLO car has all the bells and whistles buyers are accustomed to such as electronic power steering, heated seats, air conditioning and back-up cameras.

From a financial standpoint SOLO is much cheaper to operate. A five year comparison of cost and operating costs prepared by the company indicates a $37,000 plus costs for SOLO with four comparable cars ranging from $52,000 to $71,000.

Operating costs differences come from lower price, less fuel, financing and depreciation charges.

Retail price is $18,500 U.S. reduced by not needing an over-built power train and maximizing cargo space to five cubic feet.

Under testing for three years first SOLO is manufactured in partnership with Zongshen Industrial Group, one of the world’s largest makers of two and three wheeled vehicles, based in China.

An Arizona plant of 235,000 square feet will open this summer in Mesa providing the company with capacity to produce 40,000 cars a year.

The SOLO is light weight at 1,770 pounds, 112 inches long and 64 inches wide.

Initial marketing via kiosk locations will target California and Oregon with eventual plans to move into the rest of North America, Asia and Europe.

Electra-Mechanica has $220 million cash to continue before needing profits or selling more shares and carries no debt.

Ownership by directors and inside investors amounts to about 16 per cent of the shares. Zongshen owns another 3.4 per cent of shares.

With a current $2.23 U.S. price of the Nasdaq exchange, the company is valued around $250 million – clearly a speculative investment considering sales are near zero to date.

The SOLO car is an interesting story worth following and possibly worth investment once sales and profits are established.

Expect that the company, if successful, will be acquired by one of the larger EV manufacturers. EV companies are popping up like mushrooms after a rain comparable to the explosion of car manufacturers in the early 1900s. Most will fall by the wayside or be acquired.

CAUTION: Remember when investing, consult your adviser and do your homework before buying any security. Bizworld does not recommend investments.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.