Canadian electric vehicle maker ElectraMeccanica plans to open more retail kiosks in the United States, the company’s CEO told investors in a memo Tuesday.
The British Columbia-based automaker in November 2019 opened a kiosk in the highly trafficked Westfield Century City Shopping Mall on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles.
The mall is located amongst the surrounding Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Santa Monica and Century City communities.
The kiosk, which provides customers with the opportunity to view, test drive and place pre-orders, is an effort to market ElectraMeccanica’s low-cost single-seat EV to environmentally conscious Americans.
“We will incorporate lessons learned from our initial retail endeavour as we open additional kiosks over the next calendar [year] in more Southern California locations,” CEO Paul Rivera said in the statement.
The company plans to add kiosks in the San Francisco area and expand into the neighbouring states of Washington, and Oregon.
“Ultimately, we believe our strategic launch in the Los Angeles area will be very successful given the area is home to more than four million commuters and a leading location in the U.S. for EV adoption,” Rivera said.
ElectraMeccanica spokesman Sean Mahoney said in an email to Automotive News Canada that the company doesn’t release the number of kiosk orders because “they can be outdated very quickly.”
He said the kiosk has drummed up test-drive interest “from hundreds” of people.
“I can tell you that the kiosk has been a success and we're looking forward to expanding the kiosk and store-front model into other parts of California and elsewhere up the coast,” he wrote.
The Solo features a 160-kilometre range, has the ability to cruise at highway speeds and can charge on a regular household (110V) socket in fewer than six hours. It is scheduled to be released in 2020 and expected to retail for less than US$20,000.
Rivera said that “state agencies in both California and Oregon provide our customers with rebates as high as US$2,500 per vehicle, whereas a federal tax credit provides up to 10 per cent of the vehicle cost up to US$2,500.”
In early 2019, the automaker took delivery of 50 pilot production vehicles from its strategic manufacturing partner in China — Zongshen Industrial Group — and deployed them for on-road validation testing throughout the United States and Canada.
The “real world” tests resulted in the company making several changes to the vehicle. Tweaks included switching to a liquid cooled electric drive, modifying the steering geometry and a new seat design and enhanced stereo system.
“I firmly believe the steps we have taken as an executive team will position ElectraMeccanica to forever revolutionize the automotive landscape and the future of commuting,” Rivera said.