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EMV17: The Ghost in the Electric Sparrow

By Bill Moore

Electra Meccanica Vehicle Corporation President and CEO Jerry Kroll talks with EV World's Bill Moore about the development of their sub-$20K three-wheeled, single-seat electric vehicle, inspired by the original Corbin Sparrow.

I still clearly recall, more than a decade later, my conversation with Mike Corbin about the inspiration behind the Sparrow, the then newly-released single-seat, three-wheeled electric car he'd designed. He said he was on a highway overpass watching all the cars go past, most of them with only one passenger: the driver. Yet, there they were in large five-passenger cars, taking up a huge swath of highway, often creeping along in bumper to bumper traffic in a vehicle that was obviously transportation overkill for just one person.

Why not, he logically reasoned, build something that was better suited to the realities of the road: a nimble, but safe, single-passenger car for commuting. Better yet, why not make it electric, since most people's commute is less than 40 miles a day, easily within the capabilities of even a lead-acid battery.

Thus was born the Corbin Sparrow. Sadly, it had a meteoric existence, as the company ran into trouble with investors and its parts and jigs were sold off to Dana Myers, whose own plans for the cute little EV also withered over time.

Maybe both Corbin and Myers were just ahead of their time. At least two Canadian's seem to think they were, because they've bought up some of those old Corbin Sparrows and Myer's NMGs (short of "no more gas") and shipped them to Vancouver, British Columbia, but not to refurbish them. No, Jerry Kroll and Henry Reisner, have a more ambitious plan in mind: a lighter, sexier, yet still affordable reinterpretation of the Corbin Sparrow concept, code-named EMV17 (see the newly released artist's concept sketch below).

Purported artist's design sketch of EMV17 electric car

Where the Sparrow was made of steel tubing and fiberglass and weighed in at 1,600 lbs., Kroll tells EV World's Bill Moore their vehicle will be half that because it'll be fabricated out of carbon fiber, the same material found in the BMW i3 electric car. Their company, Electra Meccanica has been building customer sports cars since 1959, but only a handful a year. Kroll and Reisner are aiming for 25,000 units annually. At less than $20,000CAD, and less than that in BC with the province's $5,000CAD incentive, there's a fair chance they'll hit that mark for the 140 km/r speedster with an estimated range of 140 km: that's 86 mph and 86 miles range for us Yanks.

You can put your name down for an early test drive at SmallEV.com. They plan to debut the prototype in mid-November of this year and hope to begin deliveries in 2016.

Video Interview

Times Article Viewed: 9959
Originally published: 15 Jul 2015

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