• Apr 2nd 2010 at 9:58AM
  • 3
Ethiopia may not spring immediately to mind as the most likely market for electric vehicles – its electricity system is not wholly reliable – but that is not stopping Freestyle PLC from building the Solaris Elettra at its facility in Legetafo, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Already in the solar business for 15 years, the firm feels that the East African country's hydro power development will make it a natural for this technology. Operating under the slogan, "From a green country to a green world," Freestyle envisions eventually exporting the car to other countries in the region.
The car itself is being assembled from parts sourced from China, Korea and Singapore and looks like, well, let's just say it looks like what's in the picture. With a top speed of 80 kilometers an hour (50 miles per hour) it wouldn't be a threat to a Tesla at a stop light either, though that is not really the point of the vehicle. More important is the price, which will be somewhere between $13,000 and $15,000 depending on the specific model chosen. The government may drop an import fee which would bring the cost closer to the $10,000 mark for the 5.0 model and the company is considering a credit system to help make it more attainable. It is said they are producing six vehicles a week but should be able to bump that production up to 30 in a few months. There does seem to be some amount of interest in the vehicle, despite the lack of a proper website. It can quietly boast its own fan page on Facebook. Hit the jump for video of local news coverage featuring high amperage action some shots of the Elettra in motion.

[Source: BBC / The Reporter]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Terrific! Congratulations on bringing a low cost electric car to your country.
      • 8 Months Ago
      They can sell it for 10k because they cut a lot of corners. The rear coil-overs are not long enough, resulting in the trailing arms riding on the limiting bumpers whenever you ride over any significant bump.

      The tolerances of the gear box are poor, resulting in a lot of material shedding from the gear teeth. I expect to start seeing gearbox failures at 30k or 40k miles.

      Last week, I had a commutator assembly fail due to saltwater intrusion, though this is probably only a problem in northern climes where road salt is used.

      That being said, these problems all arose in fleet vehicles that suffered extremely heavy use. As a personal car, they are not that bad. I wouldn't buy one myself, but it is a workable vehicle, if maintenance intensive.

      If anyone is still interested after my shpeal, I can sell you one in the United States pretty cheap. We have a blue, 2 seat pickup truck version of this car with leather seats sitting on our lot. It will register and insure as a motorcycle. Go to pluginmn.com

      ~Jim Courteau
      • 8 Months Ago
      i see you get a clock too. 50 mile per hour is good enough. What is the range, I don't expect much, hopefully 60 miles similiar to the imeiv. 6 cars a day and they can still produce them for 10 to 15k, pretty good.
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