‘It’s the future’: B.C. company building new electric vehicle
Louise Hartland, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, August 4, 2016 6:27PM PDT
We all know how bad greenhouse gas emissions are for the environment and more people are turning to electric vehicles to do their part.
Now there’s a new player on the market and some of it is built on Vancouver Island.
The ‘Solo’ is an electric car aimed at getting you out of your gas guzzler. The vehicle has one seat, three wheels and runs on batteries.
“It’s a solution for those who commute by themselves, that’s 83 per cent of Canadians who are commuting by themselves – one person in a large car in a hydro carbon or gasoline burning car” Jerry Kroll with Electra Meccanica said.
The Solo is the latest in a string of popular clean energy vehicles hoping to make a dent in the market.
It reaches a speed of 120 km/h and can go from zero to 100 kilometres in eight seconds.
A portion of the car is built in North Saanich.
Harwood Custom Composites usually supports the production of Twin Otter and Beaver aircraft for Viking Air.
The Solo’s chassis, which is the underpart of the motor vehicle, was a new challenge.
“There was a lot of learning. We worked with Jerry’s team, the engineers, to figure out what materials to use and how to put it together and then once the design was complete we have to build a few of them and learn how to put them together as efficiently as possible,” Vik Banerjee told CTV News.
It’s not the only electric vehicle being produced on Vancouver Island.
In Errington, Canadian Electric Vehicles has been converting work trucks for decades and now concentrates on building them from scratch.
“They are Transport Canada certified as a neighbourhood electric vehicle. In many cities in British Columbia they’re street legal, although most of them end up in municipalities using the parks and trails and lots of universities, that’s our primary focus,” the company’s Randy Holmquist said.
Harwood mentioned it will be able to roll 10 ‘Solo’ vehicles out every month, if it increases its staff from 10 to 16.
If the new electric car is as popular as the CEO hopes it’ll be, the company may have to move production off shore.
“We are selling our finished Solo cars to Japan - 10,500 orders to that country already and another pending order for 88,000. It’s just a shame that we don’t have the uptake from the Canadian government to build the 200,000 square foot facility here, get the jump start that Tesla got in the United States,” Kroll said.
The first completed ‘Solo’ will be unveiled next month in Vancouver with a price tag of around $20,000.
“When people ask me what it is, I always say the same thing, I say it’s the future,” Kroll added.