The Bricklin 3EV Has Three Wheels and Scissor Doors, You Won't See Anything Like It

1 Woche, 6 Tage her - 16. Mai 2024, autoevolution
Bricklin 3EV
Bricklin 3EV
The Bricklin 3EV is the all-electric three-wheeler that looks like a real car but it's not, and you have probably never heard of it. The Bricklin story started ages ago, but now the 3EV is reviving it.

It all started with the Bricklin SV-1 back in 1974. It was the creation of Malcolm Bricklin and came with gullwing doors and composite bodywork, looking a lot like the Mercedes-Benz C11 design study. The SV stood for "Safety Vehicle," as it sported a roll-over structure, a body-on-frame construction, energy-absorbing bumpers, a tubular steel frame and integrated roll cage.

Malcolm Bricklin had a reputation to uphold in the automotive world. He had been the first businessman to import the Subaru brand into the United States back in 1968 and established Subaru of America. Later on, he loaned money from the Government to build his own car.

The Government originally believed that the money would go into covering expenses arising from the production of cars. In fact, it was steered to engineering and development of vehicles as well as to paying salaries in the company headquartered in Phoenix.

His first car, the SV-1, was completed in 1972. The model was built like a puzzle, with pieces from other automakers. It had a six-cylinder Chrysler Slant-6 engine instead of the four-cylinder from Opel, as originally planned.

It sported a rear suspension from the Datsun 510, a braking system integrating parts from Opel and Toyota, while Chevrolet supplied the tilting steering wheel.

When production started, the team realized that it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. They had major issues with the composite acrylic/fiberglass body panel technology. The resin would blister at temperatures below 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.6 degrees Celsius).

So it had to be replaced with a thinner material, which needed an extra layer of fiberglass. But that increased weight and production costs. So they switched back to the resin.

An expert came to the factory to tell them they were doing everything wrong. Sixty percent of the acrylic was lost in the first months of production. Malcolm's father came up with a suggestion: to strike every single part that came out of the presses with a seven-pound hammer. Only the parts that did not delaminate passed the test.

Bricklin finally nailed it – or at least he thought he did – and the SV-1 was unveiled in front of celebrities and dealers at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in February 1974. Later that year, the car made its public debut at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City on June 25, 1974.

But it just did not work out for Bricklin. The original price more than doubled over the first few months of production. Furthermore, the factory had quality control issues and had to battle supplier shortages and worker absenteeism.

Three thousand cars later, production ended. But now Bricklin is making a comeback with the 3EV to mark the anniversary of the SV-1. The 3EV is a fully-enclosed two-seater three-wheeler sporting scissor doors.

The brand unveiled the model in March at the American Muscle Car Museum in Melbourne, Florida, and advertised it as a vehicle that is affordable, safe, luxurious, comes with impressive performance, and good value for the money.

However, it never disclosed too much information about it. What we do know is that it can drive as far as 275 miles (443 kilometers). There is no information about the capacity of the mid-mounted battery located beneath the floor or the charging speed. The three-wheel vehicle is powered by a single electric motor that sits at the front, thus providing the model with a close-to-perfect weight distribution.

Even though it is not an actual passenger car, the vehicle comes with the features of one. It sports full-body airbags, stability and traction control, and a collision-avoidance system.

There is a touchscreen onboard, controlling most of the functions of the car, in the company of a head-up display, power heated seats and power windows. The wood trim on the dashboard makes occupants feel like they are on board a premium car. The 3EV can be updated over the air.

Styled by Andreas Haase and engineered by race car designers, as the brand claims, it won't win a beauty pageant, but it will surely turn some heads and raise some eyebrows.

It is 183.6 inches long, and 80 inches wide and has a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. The firm also promises large storage capacity.

The Bricklin 3EV should go into production at the automaker's new Visionary Vehicles plant and be offered through a network of dealers. The model starts at $28,980. A range-topping version, 3EVX, with upgraded equipment and better range, will start at $38,980.

There is no information about the exact date of the production start. But the brand passed the CGI stage and came up with a functional prototype, which is a big step forward. 

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