Crowdfunded Sondors EV Debuts In LA With A $10,000 Price As An Elio
Nov 30, 2017 Cristian Gnaticov
Electric car startups are going all-in with their latest products, with the
latest one to grace our screens - for now - being the Sondors.
The crowdfunded company is present at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show with a
3-wheel, fully electric prototype called Model Sondors, which was funded
back in January and completed seven months later.
It has a 3-seat layout, two at the front and one at the rear, and it
promises to become the most affordable, attractive, and practical EV ever,
with an anticipated starting price of $10,000. If all that reminds you of
Elio and it's three-wheeler, you're right, but at least for now, Sondors
isn't going through the problems of the former.
The zero-emission Model can be equipped with various lithium-ion battery
packs, which can be charged from 110V or 240V outlets. It's estimated that
it will be able to travel for up to 75, 150, and 200 miles (120, 240, 320
km), respectively, between charges, and take from 5 to 8 seconds for the
0-60mph (96km/h) acceleration, depending on the version.
Sondors' plans include a pre-production prototype of the 3-wheeled EV, and
up to $20 million for tooling, and only then will they sell it online, and
deliver it directly to customers, if nothing interferes with the process,
though, which is a fundamental difference with Elio.
"I want electric to be available to everyone. I believe affordable, clean
transportation should be the norm, not the exception", commented the
company's founder and CEO, Storm Sondors. "You shouldn’t have to choose
between a car you can afford and a car that's electric. We can do better."
[© 2017 Carscoop & Carscoops]
Sondors’ crowdsourced, 3-wheeled, $10,000 EV debuts at the LA Auto Show
Dec. 1st 2017 Jameson Dow
Sondors, the firm behind the incredibly successful affordably-priced e-bike
crowdsourcing campaign, revealed their anticipated crowdsourced 3-wheeled EV
in prototype form at the LA Auto Show yesterday.
The car is intended to start at just $10,000 and have options for 75, 150,
and 200 mile range battery packs. It will have three seats, quick electric
performance with a 0-60 of 5-8 seconds (presumably depending on battery
pack), and be sold online with direct customer delivery. Sondors is
targeting 2019 to start delivering vehicles, assuming fundraising goals are
met on time.
A three-wheeled affordable startup EV is not a new concept, but Sondors does
have a fresh take on it. The reason for going with three wheels instead of
four is because the cars can be sold as motorcycles, allowing manufacturers
to skirt certain regulations which add to the cost, weight, and complexity
of four-wheeled passenger vehicles. Also, three-wheeled vehicles don’t
require a motorcycle license, so they can still be driven by everyone.
Sondors’ take is fresh is because both the exterior and interior looks quite
well-designed, spacious, and “normal” insofar as a three-wheeled electric
vehicle can be considered normal. It looks pretty much like a car sans one
wheel, the interior is fairly spartan but still nice, and it packs an
impressive three seats into such a small space (which is one more seat than
my much larger, four-wheeled Tesla Roadster).
A very solid, if spartan, interior, complete with a somewhat dated
single-DIN head unit
A third seat?! And it even looks like it's got some shoulder room
The interior seems more spacious than you would expect out of a tiny
vehicle, though Sondors was not allowing anyone to sit in it at the show.
More on that in the coming weeks when we will get an opportunity to take
this car out for a spin.
Sondors plans to incorporate all the comfort and safety features you would
expect on a modern vehicle – air conditioning, power windows, airbags,
traction and stability control, etc. They even would like to eventually add
autonomous drive to the car, and be able to stow the steering wheel away.
Despite intending the car to be fun to drive, founder/CEO Storm Sondors
claims that he “hates driving” – an attitude that the monotony of rush hour
traffic between LA and his home in Malibu could inspire in just about anyone
(trust me, that part of PCH during traffic is the worst).
Sondors says this impressive little prototype was actually built in just 7
months. When I drove the 2009 MINI E, BMW engineers were proud of the fact
that they had taken that car from napkin-concept to production in only a
year – but they’re a big company and they already had a vehicle platform to
utilize. Sondors bringing this car from teaser image through crowdfunding
and all the way to early prototype in just over a year, with the prototype
itself being built in 7 months, is an incredibly impressive effort.
This is still very much a prototype, though. Specs are light, and we don’t
really know much more than what was stated on the backsplash (nothing about
motor power, battery size etc.). The hood can be removed, but does not open
easily on a hinge. There is currently no dedicated storage space in the
car, but Sondors claims they’re thinking of adding a bit of cargo space
under the hood. And while the final product is intended to be
highway-capable, the prototype is currently limited to low speeds because,
well, they don’t want to break anything on it.
But that hasn’t stopped founder/CEO Storm Sondors from dreaming big about
the company’s future. He plans to use contract manufacturing (starting in
Italy for the first run, then elsewhere) to build the car, to find people
who are experts at manufacturing instead of setting up his own manufacturing
venture, but he claims that he’s not interested in selling “just 60,000 or
100,000 cars a year.” The idea of making a limited production vehicle – and
the numbers he gave as examples of “limited production” seem quite high
already – “bores” him. He wants to make a car for everyone, with a price
everyone can afford, which can be used for all the trips to the coffee shop
which nobody needs a GMC Yukon for.
To get to this point, Sondors will build on their prototype crowdfunding
campaign with a further crowdsourced equity offering, intended to raise an
additional $20 million in funds. The full SEC filing for the offering is
here. Since this is not a full IPO and is being offered per the Obama-era
Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, individuals do not have to be
“qualified investors” to participate. (Note: this is not investment advice,
and Electrek does not endorse any investment. Crowdfunding startup
campaigns are considered high-risk investments, so proceed with caution)
Interestingly, they are not taking deposits and do not plan to until the car
is ready for production, which is different from most other companies which
have tried similar plans in the past.
And as for that purchase price – expected to sell for just $10,000, this is
more affordable than even most other small, three-wheeled EVs. It’s
actually a little bit hard to believe – and that could very well change, but
anywhere in that ballpark would be nice.
More impressively, Sondors does not take into account any incentives when
quoting this expected purchase price. He claims that he “isn’t interested
in politics” and has not attempted to approach any government officials
about being added to the list of qualifying vehicles for incentives. So
these could bring the purchase price down even lower, should it ever qualify
for incentives (edit: since a few comments have gotten excited about this –
if it’s registered as a motorcycle, it’s unlikely to qualify for car
incentives, and motorcycle incentives, where they exist, are smaller than
car incentives, so this is unlikely to be a “free car”).
Those of us who have been around EVs have seen many three-wheeled startups
promising low-cost EVs come and go. One of the highest profile attempts was
the Aptera, a car with both gas and electric options which was announced
around the time of the original Tesla Roadster (2006) and took pre-orders
from California buyers for many years, until the company eventually folded
in 2011 without producing a car (those with deposits did end up getting
There are many others in the pipe right now at various stages of life, such
as Ampere 1 which showed off their very early prototype for the first time
yesterday, Electra Meccanica SOLO which recently secured a manufacturing
deal, and Arcimoto which recently IPOed on NASDAQ is just about to start the
earliest customer deliveries in the coming weeks.
Sondors is further along than Ampere and does seem to have the most
impressive three-wheeled prototype I’ve seen, but there are still a lot of
challenges between delivering a single prototype and making it to volume
production. Especially if Sondors defines “volume production” as more than
his “boring” 100,000 vehicle number, which is quite a high bar to set.
What was nice to hear is that CEO Storm Sondors “gets it.” As a longtime EV
driver and advocate, there are some people in the automotive industry who
“get it” – who understand the importance and purpose of EVs and how they fit
into a person’s life rather than just considering them necessary for
compliance with regulations – and some who don’t. Not coincidentally, most
of the people who “get it” are people who’ve actually lived with an EV
before and realized how great they are to own.
For example, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos
Ghosn “get it.” VW Group CEO Matthias Müller mostly “gets it,” as do his
workers and VW’s brand CEO Herbert Diess, but many of VW’s executives don’t.
Even a lot of old-school car guys, like Don Garlits and Jay Leno, “get it.”
Storm Sondors is in this category. He knows that electric cars should look
cool instead of too-funky, or else you’re going to have a hard time
convincing the public to go with something they perceive as different.
Being three-wheeled gives Sondors a natural disadvantage in “funky-ness” but
the prototype makes up for it with a really nice look which hides that
three-wheeled oddness well. But the most important statement he made to
convince me that he “gets it” is that in any multi-car household, the EV is
the first car, not the second car.
Many people say that an EV can be a good second car, but in practice if a
household has multiple cars, why would anyone choose to take the
aforementioned GMC Yukon to Starbucks when they can take the fun little
three-wheeler, which will be quicker, easier to park, much cheaper to drive
and of course tremendously more environmentally friendly? And you don’t
need to stop at a gas station either, you just plug it in at home. Much
more convenient, so of course it’s the car of choice, the household’s “first
So Storm Sondors has convinced me that he “gets it.” That’s a start. But a
lot of these startup guys are fully onboard with the vision, but the devil
is in the details when going from concept to production. Can Sondors make
it to that point? Will the company be able to sell a million of these
quirky, affordable EVs? Let us know what you think in the comments. And if
you’d like to see the prototype, visit Sondors in the West Hall Atrium of
the LA Auto Show, which opened to the public today and runs until Dec 10th.
SONDORS $10000 EV Makes Debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show
MALIBU, Calif., Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- SONDORS Electric Car Company
is debuting their three seat, three wheel, all electric vehicle at the 2017
LA Auto Show. The prototype, nicknamed Model SONDORS, was funded in January
of this year through equity crowdfunding and completed seven months later
Anticipated retail price starting at $10,000
Three wheeled electric vehicle
Two front seats and one back seat
Lithium Ion battery with 75, 150, and 200 mile range
0 to 60 Mph in 5-8 seconds
Charge with regular 110V or 240V
Sold online and delivered directly to customers
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