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Solo

AriLea

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So lets talk a little about that snappy acceleration I mentioned above.
In an ICE drive, especially now, there is a bit of delay. People take a moment to notice the light is green. Then they start to press the gas. Only then the engine starts to notice and gain power. Only then it starts to move out.

The EV, I heard about this, but this was my first EV I have driven. And yes, instant power. It kind of jumped the first time I pressed the peddle. But after that, I was ready, and didn't get a jump, but definitely no delay. You have what ever it has now, no build-up.

So it is now 1AM my time, and I am old enough that it will not go well for me. So to bed I must.
I will finish tomorrow. At least I got you something to see the same day as my test drive.

Enjoy,
-Me (updated: don't like my real name open on the internet all that much)

Next up; (and note to self)
Road/Drive/Cabin noise
Rear wheel behavior
Mirror,
Driver's View
Backing up,
Free power,
Permission to own.
Power Mirrors
Forward hood space
Drink cup holders
Arm rests
Fit and trim
Behavior of people passing by
 
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3wheelin

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Thank you kindly for the comprehensive take of the SOLO experience and the pictures was topping on the cake! I was contacted twice by a Electra Meccanica sales rep and informed me that I can have a SOLO within a month once I confirm my order if I picked the white, red or black color....silver may take a bit longer. The trouble I'm having is justifying the out-the-door price of 20K so my wife was really against it from the start were only one of us can drive at a time. The range of LESS than a 100 real world miles (speed and driving conditions factored in) is also a consideration value wise. Heck, if all I want is attention, I could go driving half naked ( they can't see if I'm wearing anything down below :eek:;)). It didn't meet my NEEDS so I have to pass.
 

84mpg

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Yes Arak! Thanks for your detailed take of the Solo. I look forward to reading about all of your experience and opinions of the vehicle.

Not sure how their product will work out, but I'm glad they are getting them on the road. I hope the Solo will meet the needs of some folks.
 

3wheelin

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I'm a member of a 1950's B Grade SciFi Horror group, this scared me more .... :eek:
Lol I'll make exception with your BEX as it meets my need for a gas powered 2 seats 3wheeler. And it begs to ask when your BEX will be ready for sale here in the US. Shall I ask when do you expect to arrive at a production ready BEX? I think it's a fair question.
 

AriLea

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I had a very busy day today. So the follow up will happen as the week progresses.

But first, the elephant in the room. Aside from the lofty and positive things I found, the Solo had some issues.
Pulling from my 'Next Up' list above..

1) Permission to own. Off the top. My wife sees the Solo, and with one look, says, no way in hell. Can't possibly be safe. No discussion will change that. But (she says to me) I'm welcome to have one once she leaves this earth. In fact she would then look forward to just how soon she gets to be with me again. Lucky me. I will honor that. She's worth it.
So some number of people reacted to the Elio just that way. It's even more pronounced in the Solo.
2) Road/Drive/Cabin noise, there was plenty, more on that soon.
3) Rear wheel behavior, not real bad, but simply, the rear hiked up a tiny little bit when stopping from backing up. This is not really a big problem. It just felt a tiny bit weird.
4) Driver's View, a little attention to it is required when driving it. Like above, Also, more on that soon.
5) Mirrors. This was good. We all on this forum had heard about the 'Elio-No-Center-Line-Blind-Spot' thing. Yep, it was totally true! As far as driving and backing up, there is no problem. Maybe if something is resting center on the roof, you won't see it. But after the first foot going looking back, you will see it all. At least at window height where cars exist.
6) Forward-under-the-hood space; well, there is none. Your feet are down in there along with other hardware. But we all knew that, or should have.
7) Drink cup holders; you will need to provide your own. It may take some innovation. But there are spaces. Every spot does have a tradeoff.
8) Arm rests; there is only one position, you better hope it's comfortable for you. It was OK for me. But not everybody is the same.
9) Fit and trim, it's Chinese minimal engineering, or international Canadian, whichever. It's about at the level of their motorcycles. OK, just a bit better than that. So treat it nicely, it's not as durable as I would want, but it will do the job.
10) Behavior of people passing by. This is about the price. It is higher than people commonly feel is warranted.
So while I was conferencing with them, two different people came by, and asked price, then blurted out, "No, that's too much.

I'm thinking ElectraMechannica is fully aware about the experience Smart Car had. For 5 years, on the basis of uniqueness, green effect and cool factor, people bought them up at around 10k units each year. And at $30k-USD each one. Only so many people can be motivated that way. And this is a glass ceiling at some unknown level for the Solo. That is, how much of a free pass will the Solo get on the high price? As for Smart, well the history indicates what they encountered.

I think marketing of the Solo is hoping to get a free pass on the price offered, just like Smart, for some limited period of time. But did they guess correctly what that level is? Will it match with their factory planning? We shall see. But later they will need to break that ceiling if they want to get to the kind of buyers that will get their calculator out before they buy. I think Elio knew those people were ten times as many as the 'special interest' types. They tried to entertain those buyers right up front. Even so, very few of those actually made reservations. The trick is, those types will not even look until the price seems more reasonable to them, and when the car is actually involved in ongoing sales.

I let them know at ElectMech, whomever and everyone I talked to, that the ceiling level, where acceptable common pricing is effective, is at somewhere well below a couple thousand of the price for the cheapest electric car, maybe even that much lower than the cheapest ICE driven cars in America. Just my humble opinion. I'm not surprised about the comments of the general public walking by. Other buyer types were very entertained by the cute and crazy little car.

I didn't get any ear spying in on the EV crowd. Those looking to get their first EV, or second, or whatever. I needed more street-side time for that.
 
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AriLea

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So while we wait for my final few points about the Solo....

There have been just a few other reviews and test drives by others. In fact, I'm a bit surprised by how many I found. And while it gets more and more street-side attention there will be more videos and articles.

So a statement made in the first link, which is just an article containing this quoted statement, then the current list of tests I could find.

...but ElectraMeccanica doesn't expect you, the consumer, to be its biggest buyer—instead, it's banking on fleet sales. The company believes the Solo is the right size and price for businesses that need a small fleet of vehicles for courier services and food delivery. It's also investigating starting its own car-sharing application in a post COVID-world.

ElectraMeccanica has grand ambitions to build an electric convertible called the Tofino, and a sportier two-passenger second-generation Solo. But the company for now has a lot riding on this imperfect product.

Here is the current definitive OCD-Solo-obsession list;


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AARvnHpkywQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBVuuNOG68
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9XbLv-A8vI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9XbLv-A8vI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDTfpI8JFLg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2LDvJCO5rs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHbsMNOotuw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhsGyonXjVw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkxdrPOYW_g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6r_65NlzNE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKbW--qewrs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz9tIa6ERbA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8uTiqig7SM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gei5LgVwV0E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H52dHTsgvps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrhi3dreVc4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgZWZsZRfHs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijY3j_eOA0I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMtN2Nm98io
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ish84XhcH0M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR8EeF1urzk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5tQcBX-pX8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2nfp_33-Hw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0fk-QC2GOo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qchXBkwlYuE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCvMJTgXJ1I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX1xUeximeg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh2VYW9a9mg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPr7rSF8N_0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8bi3x5zK1E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvTIn5GLGnw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5YsOMq4v38
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBvE3RBsq7s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxNWfLl8jgY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxNWfLl8jgY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZaprc9vPto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xniYFubY1d0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5GTVsOOLXg
 

AriLea

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OK, time to tackle this one subject. Road/Drive/Cabin noise.
I had said there was plenty in the Solo that I drove. That is the takeaway. Too simple, I can't live with that.

This is actually a tedious engineering subject. All the automakers have an army of engineers in diverse and difficult specialties such as acoustics that relate to structures and components. I took some extra time to contemplate this and compare against what I know.

So, relating it back to the Elio, we heard how there was a little extra noise in the Elio and this was attributed to the windows on left and right of the driver's head. By extra, it was related as not a lot but more than the average expectation. I'm now not so sure that was what was going on there. But I have not driven one.

First some background. The Viking research vehicles I worked on. These were very light weight. And the chassis were made from flat-sheet tempered aluminum. So an issue with light weight, this means less momentum. So the structures move larger distances under bump and vibration. With that happening more energy goes into the adjacent air as sound or into other transfers to objects where attachments exist. This all becomes part of the dampening. Which is not the dampening you want. A heavier car will not have exactly that set of issues.

Now, about the acoustics of vibration. This mechanism is the same as a sounding board. Many musical instruments have them. A drum accepts a pounce and returns a sound based on it's harmonics. So it also has a sounding board effect, but being round, it has one or just a few frequencies. Guitars are shaped so that they have more than one harmonic. A French curve or other compound shape can do that.

But more frequencies means a lower 'Q' level which often means more absorption into things like heat or other exits for that energy. Bad for music volume in concert, but maybe better for other purposes. The 1964 Corvair convertible has 15lb, oil filled dampeners in each fender to help eliminate chassis twist. But it also quieted the chassis noise just a little.

But if your structure is rigid as a stamped component often is, the whole structure acts like a speaker cone, flushing off a wave along the whole surface. This is a bow wave, by the way. It pretty much goes straight forward. Engineers do things to speakers boxes to manipulate that. A hole for example, makes a gap, which is about the same as a pressure bubble. After the gap, the wave form fans out.

I'm just saying there are a lot of uncommon things to know in acoustics and vibration. For example, phantom foci. You feel this effect from stereo head phones. No that sound is not over there or between your ears. Managing the stereo delays, makes it sound like that noise in your headphones is somewhere it is not.

Car makers often coat chassis panels with a tar or rubber foam to shield out road vibration and noise. It also changes the dampening and harmonics. And engineers have to decide how much is needed and what harmonic is the most trouble. This changes what, and how much is needed.

So about the research cars. First we tried not to make totally square or fully round chassis panels. And larger panels were given a slight X bend in them removing the tendency to drum. But now they could act as a speaker cone, so designing as irregular polygons or attaching some object (hard or soft) could redirect, change harmonics or absorb that noise. But honestly, that was all about attempts to teach us. We didn't worry all that much about a car that was for pure research. If something was not perfect, well it was just educational. We didn't have to fix it.

So on a stereoscopic effect, or a foci of a cone or other sound source. Moving your head around will make the location of the phantom source change. If it stays at the same location while you move. It may be the actual source.

So back to the Solo. The largest noises I was hearing were in the range of panel drumming. The car when going into dips and over lumps in the road, this is where it got worse. The road noise, wheel whine if you like, this was not very bad at all. In the past rubber in suspensions was used to limit that from traveling into the chassis and becoming a drumming source.

When I have looked at the naked Solo chassis online, I notice a lot of flat sheet. Maybe some straight bends. But those can still drum. So this maybe the source of the drumming. It was pretty loud, and the foci seemed to be everywhere down low all around the chassis. Reflecting back, it did not change apparent location as my head moved around the cabin. So the windows are not the source of the foci, and therefore also not the origination and then not the reason there is any extra noise in the car. All this sound was not disturbing in a short time period, but it was there. And that brings up a new point.

So about 'Low Hum Fatigue'. When you have a low frequency sound source, or one transferring energy though contact. Your body and nervous system can get uncommonly tired. Being in the Air-Force, interacting with various machines, for long work sessions, I have felt that effect some number of times.

The noise I found in that Solo cabin, especially while absorbing road surface features, was in the range of the low-hum that I have experienced. The Solo has a 100 mile range. This will likely eliminate the possibility of the worst effects. But, at some point you may notice this tendency during any extended use inside of a single day, In my opinion.

So I looked at the curvature of the side windows. They are not in circumference to the driver's ears, and do not have a tight focal point since they are not circular. They do not appear to be able to induce extra problems for the driver. This flies in the face of what people are worried about. This makes sense to me since they were implemented in similar style to all windows that modern cars now have. I think that is a benefit inherited from all the prior attempts engineers have made to reduce cabin noise.

So here is a list of subjects I had to considered while thinking about this issue. Which are real industry terms, and which did I make up to help parse some aspect of the subject? Can you guess?

Stereoscopic Phantom Sources
Acoustic Foci
Low Hum Fatigue
Panel Drumming
Cornucopic Vortex Effects
Sound Conversion Effect
Foci of Anomalous Reflection
Standing Wave Pattern
Bow Wave
 

AriLea

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Followup;

This last note above does make me wonder about the design of Egyptian Obelisks. Huh What? Yep I said that. Yep, off topic. Off the rails too.
(Warning: Get out your chewable edibles, sip some wine, whatever)
So why do they taper? Why that shape? Their religion simply dictated it?

Cornucopic Vortex Effects. Yes I made that up. But the fact is, a sea-shell is a cornucopia. Inside, it converts simple sound waves into more complex ambient white noise. It's because there is no single harmonic, and waves tend to fan out. So waves will wash around inside and be broken up into any number of frequencies as they bounce about. A wave bouncing from a circular chamber will reform. Having all sizes of circles, you get all sizes of waves.

Just because an obelisk is solid, does not mean sound isn't echoing around inside of it.

Also the shell shape, when rolled out to a long cone, is not a structure with a single harmonic when pushed, bumped or swung about. Same for tall tapering obelisks. The center of gravity in a tall structure is lower when standing up too, compared to a parallel sided geometry.

So the earth makes noise. Things that move, things that bump, and earthquakes that have all of that. P-Waves, S-Waves, sudden distance translation. Even the wind can induce a sound into the ground over a distance. Waves stack on top of each other for a higher energy peak. But, broken waves into varied wave lengths stack as lower peaks (on the average) and give more time/chance to be absorbed.

So many paths of energy that a standing structure with a tapering form can play with. Who knows all the uses of that? Did they put their ears to it, for some effect we don't know about today? (PS, recent spirit boxes use types of white noise, hmm. Lets not even discuss negative ions, electron concentrators, lightning rods and such. ion emissions)

A very tall stone obelisk(a monolith), simplistic, with no tapering, will have a single central harmonic. Two of them are a tuning fork when close together. It will convert some input of other frequencies into that harmonic too. In a tuning fork it's the single tone you get from it.

But about earth quakes. Normally there are multiple waves of vibration. But a simplistic tall stone structure is brittle, enough of the vibration builds up, and it will crack. This is easier to build while one wave is still echoing in the structure, because there is one harmonic.

The Egyptian Obelisks still existing, do not have a single harmonic. Within a few, or even a hundred years, the structures that are tall and simply parallel will have broken, and the tapering ones will not.

Maybe the gods like the tapered ones. Did they think that? So the first idea was right? Their religion dictated it? That initial answer WAS too simple for me. My answer may not be right but at least it was not simple, and not as boring.

The Washington monument will stand longer because of this. Sky-scrapers please take note.
(now you know some more uses of the 'Golden Ratio', harmonic characteristics.
Include 'feng shui' for that mater.)

It is worth pointing out that the Obelisk did not suffer any significant effects due to Avezzano Earthquake of January 13th, 1915, which caused the collapse of a statue on the façade of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano.
 
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AriLea

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So the last assessment on the Solo, well plus one.

The plus-one is just the note that the Solo weighs in at 1700lbs (771kg). I blinked twice at that. The Viking cars I worked on were between 1050 and 1300lbs. And they were much bigger. But they were all aluminum chassis, and battery packs are heavy so 'there ya are!'. It is what it is. This pack weight likely adds to the noise, as the chassis stresses to support that extra weight. Unless the batteries are actually bouncing around in there. You would think that would not be the case.

Seriously, I noticed all this, but it wasn't something I hated. Just didn't prefer that.

So about the drivers view. Pretty much equal to my Corolla. And in my Corolla, I have a pillar that is a little annoying. The car designers should keep those pillars that are close to the driver's face more narrow, well under the width between your eyes, if possible. But to boost up the strength in the body, they tend to widen that up. The Corolla is a little too wide to not be noticed. You do get used to it. We all do.

As it gets wider, your blind spot to that direction is compromised. But there is a fix every one uses without thinking. We use the fact that our brains collect information from our eyes as we move about. This is the image you see, the one in your mind's eye. And not the simple snap of what the eyes have in one shot. This has some surprising affects, but the best is that we can see through partial obstructions. You have to move in some way to do it. Most of us do that without thinking.

My wife is often impressed that I can (and horrified that I operate that way) see though dirt and mud on the windshield. I can also see what is in the microwave, past the screen, and how it's going in there. This is because I know to move my head back and forth to collect that information in my brain-vision. Most of us do that without thinking much about it, but I enhance that behavior. We do the same thing looking though a screen door. Many of us anyway.

Just turning your head is one of those motions. At a stop, we are told to look left and right some number of times. We refresh and complete the picture in our heads that way. But if you stay steady for a long moment after that turn, the image is now 'stale' and you should now sway to refresh, or turn your head back and forth some more.

This is why cats wiggle their heads just before they pounce. Just in case they are looking between weeds, but also this gives some more precise information about 3d positions and target attributes.

BTW, it's also been noted during Big-Foot encounters (ahh, yes I said that) that they sway back and forth. That would be for the same two reasons that cats do it. It is for target information, clear image gathering and tactical position. If you sway back and forth at the same time I wonder how they would react? Do all these people understand this behavior? Did they make that observation up? Probably not the first people who observed it. (also note, owls do it, but in circles, not back and forth) Also in the dark, light comes from different sources, and a slight reposition will change which light source is more perceptible. Reflection and shadow all give more details on the subject being watched. And all that gathers up right in the brain (or mind, one or both) without intellectual analysis.

BTW, Deer do not do this. When standing still and observing, they concentrate their attention reacting to motion in their direction. This is easier with a steady head. For the Big-Foot, the swaying also makes it hard to tell when motion has started toward the Deer. However, it's easier to spook the deer, and cause it to run into a partner who uses that momentum plus their own smack of hands (or fists) to bring the deer down all broken.
(as observed on youtube => buckeye bigfoot)

Now back to the Solo. Those pillars, in this little car, are closer to your eyes. They are slightly more narrow than my Corolla, but closer to me, so I had the same level of trouble. And there was the right side to contend with too. But the fix was easy for me, I just did the Big-Foot sway. Almost without thinking.
In the solo, you will have to adjust your behavior to accommodate the extra post close to your face.
But this was all fairly normal for me so I didn't pay it much mind, until prepping for this posting.

That's it, for my test drive observation! Enjoy thanksgiving! (USA only)
And if you are in the woods, in the dark, watch for swaying eye shine! (both front and back!) lol
 
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