ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp. — the Canadian maker of three-wheeled electric vehicles whose assembly facility is currently under construction in Mesa — has announced an initial fleet purchase from a franchisee of a regional restaurant chain.
The order of 20 vehicles comes from Pelican Food Concepts owner Phillip Dade, a franchisee of multiple Mountain Mike’s Pizza locations in Arizona and Utah. Mountain Mike’s is a Northern California brand with more than 200 restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.
It is the sixth fleet order for ElectraMeccanica (Nasdaq: SOLO), which recently said it expects to open its assembly and engineering technical center in Mesa this summer. The $35 million factory broke ground in May 2021. Once built, the 235,000-square-foot plant at 8127 E. Ray Road in Mesa will employ 500 people and will be able to produce up to 20,000 vehicles per year.
The pizza franchisee is going with ElectraMeccanica’s Solo Cargo, which is a modification of the EV maker’s signature Solo vehicle that has an 11.8 cubic foot trunk — enough to carry about 15 standard pizza boxes.
The first 20 vehicles will be used in the restaurant chain’s Arizona market, primarily in Phoenix, ElectraMeccanica CEO Kevin Pavlov said. They are projected to be delivered in June 2022.
Dade will look at potentially ordering more based on its schedule for opening additional stores in Arizona and Utah. Pavlov said he anticipates eventually delivering at least 50 Solo Cargos and possibly as many as 130 to the chain, which would supply two of the EVs for each of the 65 restaurants that are expected to be open in the two states over the next 12 months.
ElectraMeccanica said the order demonstrates a perfect use for the Solo Cargo, and said it taps into an unmet need for restaurants and others in the food industry to have a lower-cost delivery option.
“The food-delivery space is growing rapidly, and a solution that enables businesses to be profitable in food delivery was virtually non-existent,” Pavlov said in a statement. “The Solo Cargo EV directly addresses the growing need for a scalable delivery solution while also allowing businesses and restaurants to achieve profitability in food delivery, a true differentiator for our customers.”
Change the game
Dade said ElectraMeccanica’s vehicle has the potential to change the delivery game for restaurants like his that may want to save over per-mile gas costs or third-party delivery applications.
“It just makes sense for our business needs and our food-delivery model,” Dade said in a statement. “Before the Solo, there were very few options for restaurants to become profitable in the delivery space, but the Solo Cargo is changing all of that.”
The arrival of ElectraMeccanica’s plant in Mesa, along with the likes of Atlis Motors, also in Mesa, Lucid Group and Nikola Corp. in Pinal County, among others is bringing national attention to Arizona as a hub for the development of electric vehicles.
EVs account for less than 3% of new car sales in the U.S. in recent years, according to a recent Pew survey, but Arizona is particularly poised to develop an ecosystem ripe for technological collaboration that can make it a player in the growing industry.
ElectraMeccanica’s shares rose about 8.7%, or 16 cents, on Thursday to close at $2. The stock’s overall trend this year, however, has been downward, with the stock losing 47 cents since the start of January and more than $4 since this time last year. Track the stock here.
This story has been updated to clarify that the order came from a franchisee of Mountain Mike’s Pizza.
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