2020 has been an epic year for Tesla. While virtually every other vehicle manufacturer continues to build petrol, diesel and hybrid cars, Elon Musk’s commitment to pure electric has paid off handsomely.
Back in February, the Model 3 was named UK Car of the Year. By July, a share price surge had made Tesla the world’s most valuable car company, worth a staggering $208bn, overtaking Toyota (on $203bn) and miles ahead of Volkswagen ($74bn), General Motors ($36bn) and Ford ($24bn).
Since 2016, with the introduction of the Autopilot Hardware 2 package, Tesla has made ever bolder claims about full self-driving. “It’s almost getting to a point where I can go from my house to work with no interventions,” boasted Musk this summer.
Such remarks have drawn stinging criticism. “Tesla has repeatedly rolled out crude beta features, some of which can put people’s safety at risk and shouldn’t be used anywhere but on a private test track,” said William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Washington-based Consumer Reports.
Not so long ago, rival carmakers were similarly dismissive of battery power. What they’d give to be as desirable as Tesla now!
Last week, as part of his 2020 annual shareholder meeting (and much-publicised #BatteryDay), Musk laid down an ambitious new marker: “I think probably like in about three years from now, we’re confident we can make a very competent, very compelling $25,000 electric vehicle that’s also fully autonomous,” he said.
Given how quickly they’ve revolutionised the industry, who’s to say Tesla won’t also win the race to driverless?
Any talk of three-wheelers and we immediately think of Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from Only Fools and Horses, or the Sinclair C5, but Electra Meccanica has revisited the concept with its new single-person electric vehicle, the Solo.
After a successful trial production run in Vancouver, manufacturing recently moved to a new, larger factory in Chongqing, China.
Electra Meccanica claims it already has more than 23,000 reservations at its target price of $15,500.
Chief operating officer, Henry Reisner, said: “Having driven the 2019 Solo myself, I’m convinced we have a winning car on our hands. Now we get to the business of delivering them in significant numbers.”
While it’s tempting to make Trotters Independent Traders (TIT) jokes, pollution is a serious matter and you only have to glance around the rush hour jam to see big SUVs with only one person in them.
The Congestion Zone is widely considered unfit for purpose and the London Assembly’s Transport Committee recommends replacing it with road pricing.
Why be part of the problem when, as Electra Meccanica says, you can: “Reduce your gas bill to zero. Eliminate your environmental impact. Turn your commute into the highlight of your day.”?
Ok, that might be overstating things, but with its 17.3 kWh lithium ion battery taking it from 0-60mph in just 8 seconds, this three-wheeler is worth a goosey gander.
Presenters from Absolute Radio – Andy Bush, Richie Firth, Dave Berry and Matt Dyson – lined-up for The Great British Sinclair C5 Seafront Race in Margate on Tuesday 5 February.
The Isle of Thanet News reported that the legendary 1980s three wheelers were supplied by C5 Alive, a local enthusiasts’ club run by Eddie Green and Neil Brooks, who have restored more than 30 C5s to full working order.
The C5 is a single-seater battery-assisted pedal cycle with a top speed of 20mph, described by inventor Sir Clive Sinclair as “a vehicle, not a car”.
Of 14,000 made, only 5,000 were sold before Sinclair Vehicles went into receivership. The planned follow-ups, the C10 and C15, never made it off the drawing board.