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Opinion
Timothy L. O'Brien

Can Arizona Grow Electric Vehicles in the Desert?

The state draws a road map for attracting cutting-edge industries and automated plants. But talented workers still matter, and there are challenges ahead.

The little EV that could.

The little EV that could.

Photographer: Timothy L. O'Brien/Bloomberg

I am practical, and probably boring, about cars. I have never owned one that makes people on street corners and outdoor cafes stare at me. But on a recent Sunday I was ogled in a vehicle that wasn’t particularly flashy or expensive. I think people were gawking because the car I was test-driving, an ElectraMeccanica Solo, is delightful, unusual and impossible to figure out with just a glance. So everybody stared — and smiled.

The Solo looks like something a sushi chef might concoct with a knife capable of slicing a full-sized car in half, precisely and with a bit of whimsy. It has one seat, two doors, three wheels and is technically considered a motorcycle. But it is fully enclosed in a lightweight, aerospace-composite chassis, has a comfortable cockpit, a digital instrument cluster, solid audio, air conditioning, heat, a camera for backing up, a little trunk and most other car stuff except extra seats and fellow passengers. You feel the road while driving it, and it handles and accelerates like a champ.