Americans love their big cars. With North Americans buying more sports utility vehicles (“SUVs”) than they do cars, the SUVs have been flying off dealers’ lots for quite a while. Consequently, as the automotive industry has started shifting towards electrification, most EV makers have tried their hand at developing an electric SUV to cater to the pickup truck-loving masses. In China, however, drivers have overwhelmingly taken to the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV, a tiny EV that has taken the Chinese market by storm and is even outselling Tesla’s Model 3.
Several automakers have taken note of the trend, developing tiny electric cars with relatively limited ranges to compete in the space. Thanks to advances in battery technology, these automakers can install small battery packs and still get driving ranges of up to 100 miles on a single charge. But unlike the Hong Guang Mini EV, which sells for $4,500, these tiny EVs are pricier. Let’s look at some of the most promising tiny electric vehicles.
The Nobe GT100 is a small, three-wheeled electric vehicle developed by Estonian startup Nobe. According to the company’s founder Roman Mujilar, the small EV’s retro looks are a call back to the “Golden Age of motoring.” The Nobe has enough room for two people with an estimated range of about 180 miles and a top speed of 80 miles per hour. The hard-top version of the Nobe GT100 will go for $26,000 while the convertible version will sell at $29,000.
Microlino takes inspiration from the diminutive bubble cars that were built in the wake of World War II. Built by Micro Mobility Systems in Switzerland, this tiny electric vehicle is powered by a 15kW motor and has a 55-miles-per-hour top speed with a reported range of 124 miles. The vehicle seats just two people, with the entire front face of the EV acting as the door. According to company founder Oliver Ouboter, the Microlino is extremely light, weighing less than a Tesla Model S’s batteries.
The ElectraMeccanica Solo, made by ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. Ltd. (NASDAQ: SOLO), is the definition of tiny with three wheels and just a single seat for a solitary driver. It is powered by a 17.3KWh battery pack that can go up to 100 miles on a single charge with a top speed of 80 miles per hour. According to ElectraMeccanica CEO Paul Rivera, the company is looking to ditch the traditional dealership sales model in exchange for direct-to-customer sales, fleet sales and a sharing tier. At the moment, the Vancouver-based firm will only sell its tiny EV on the West Coast before ramping up production.
These audacious vehicle makers may well redefine how people perceive the size of cars that they need.
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