Poland’s little Sam heads to Uncle Sam’s big trike market
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.
Poland’s answer to traffic congestion is now exporting to other countries.