Poland’s lit­tle Sam heads to Un­cle Sam’s big trike mar­ket

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - BEN COXWORTH

IF you’ve been to Poland re­cently, you may have seen a bug-eyed lit­tle three-wheeled elec­tric car driv­ing down the streets.

It’s known as the Sam, and it’s been man­u­fac­tured in that coun­try since 2009.

More re­cently, its mak­ers have be­gun sell­ing units in mar­kets such as Switzer­land (where it was first de­vel­oped, by a dif­fer­ent group), Ger­many, Aus­tria and the UK. Now, the com­pany is set to be­gin ex­port­ing Sam to the U.S.

Fea­tur­ing a steel chas­sis and fully-re­cy­clable poly­eth­yl­ene body, the Sam is ac­cessed via a fold­ing gull-wing door. About 300 of the rear-drive two-seater ve­hi­cles have been man­u­fac­tured to date.

It has a lithium-poly­mer bat­tery pack that can be fully charged from an or­di­nary out­let within five hours. De­pend­ing on op­er­at­ing con­di­tions and am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture, that charge should re­port­edly be good for a range of 80 to 100 km. Its max­i­mum speed is 90 km/h.

CEO Wacław Stevn­ert said the Sam com­pany hopes to be­gin U.S. sales some­time next year, and is cur­rently look­ing for prospec­tive deal­ers in Cal­i­for­nia and Florida.

The planned base price with­out bat­tery is some $8 600 (R124 520) be­fore im­port taxes, with the stan­dard bat­tery cost­ing an ad­di­tional $3 750 — a high­er­ca­pac­ity bat­tery will cost around $5 750, and should pro­vide a range of up to 161 km.

The Sam trike will com­pete with sev­eral other trikes in the U.S., like the Elio and the Black Mamba. We at Wheels are re­serv­ing judge­ment on the Elio un­til its back­ers fi­nally start mak­ing the much touted trike in­stead of — as Elio did last week — sell­ing branded ap­parel.

But as far as we are con­cerned, the Black Mamba trike shows where the fu­ture of per­son­alised trans­port is head­ing.

Some petrol­heads may be­moan that elec­tric ve­hi­cles don’t have sound, but they will moan with plea­sure when they ex­pe­ri­ence the equiv­a­lent of a V8 en­gine packed into the hub mo­tor of a fat rear tyre, a light roll cage to pro­tect the two pas­sen­gers and grippy front tyres that en­able the Mamba to steer as close as pos­si­ble into 90-de­gree cor­ners.

— NewAt­las.com-WR.


Poland’s an­swer to traf­fic con­ges­tion is now ex­port­ing to other coun­tries.

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