Los Angeles-based startup Ampere Motor is preparing to start production of a small, sporty electric machine named One. It takes the form of a low-slung three-wheeler that reminds us of the aptly named Morgan 3-Wheeler and the Polaris Slingshot.
“Electric cars today are either too expensive or a lackluster drive. Ampere’s goal is to share an exhilarating driving experience in electric cars that are affordable and beautiful,” the company said in a statement. That’s a tall order. The company noted that it enlisted the help of world-class designers trained in the same schools as the people who draw modern-day models for the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari.
Visually, the One is an impressive machine. Its tear-drop-shaped body hides a lightweight and rigid tubular chassis built with technology gleaned from the world of race cars, according to Ampere. It uses a double wishbone suspension and a carbon-Kevlar belt that drives the lone rear wheel. The company also claims the One is “maintenance-free and almost indestructible” without explaining how. There’s no top, though the interior is waterproof. The company charges about $1,500 for a hard top. Want heat and A/C? That’s another $1,000.
Technical details are, for the most part, spectacularly vague. The One offers 100 miles of range in its most basic configuration and recharging the battery takes about three and a half hours when it’s plugged into a regular household outlet. Buyers who plan on taking it on longer trips can ask for a 150-mile upgrade. Regardless of range, the benchmark sprint from zero to 60 mph takes eight seconds flat and top speed checks in at 75 mph. Even though it has two seats, most states classify the One as a motorcycle, so buyers will need the appropriate license to drive it on public roads.
Last year, Ampere Ampere said the One is about 90 percent ready for production. Pricing starts at about $10,000 and the first examples will roll off the assembly line before the end of 2018. There’s no word yet on where production will take place. We’ve reached out to the company for clarification, and we’ll update this article as soon as we hear back.
Ampere Motor claims it will begin to schedule customer test drives in March. If you’re not one to try before you buy, and if you’re confident Ampere can keep its promises in a timely manner, you can order the young firm’s very first car right now by visiting its official website and sending it a $200 refundable deposit. We’d recommend waiting until you see the car in person, though.
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