Three-wheeled car is ready to go
March 6, 2009
By Jim Feehan
Local company’s EMC3 Commuter vehicle gets 60 mpg
Could motorized tricycles be the mode of transportation for the 21st century commuter?
A Newcastle businessman is banking on just that and he’s already taking orders for delivery of a three-wheeled, gas-powered two-seater that gets 60 miles per gallon.
The teardrop shape is built for great aerodynamics. With its 10-gallon tank and mileage, you can drive from Seattle to Spokane and back and still not run out of fuel.
David Joner, the CEO of ECO Motors Co., said customers will not suffer sticker shock with the three-wheeled commuter car.
“Which car would you rather buy, a $28,000 made-in-America commuter car, or a $14,000 car that gets even better mileage that’s made in China,” Joner said.
ECO Motor Co. began four years ago as a summer project between Joner and his then 11-year-old son, Cody.
“He said, ‘I want to build a car from scratch,’” David Joner said.
Cody asked to speak to his paternal grandfather, Bruno Joner, a noted aeronautical engineer who worked for Boeing and the Swedish Air Force.
“I was hoping my dad would talk him out of it,” David Joner said. “But after two hours on the phone, my father said to me, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re building a car.’”
David Joner then brought in design engineers from around the world and the EMC3 Commuter was born.
Rated at 54 horsepower from its 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, the convertible is officially classified as a motorcycle.
“That means you get to travel in the car pool lanes and you’ll be the first one on and off state ferries,” David Joner said. “It offers all the benefits of a motorcycle, but it’s a car.”
While classified as a motorcycle, the vehicle is built to automobile safety standards that include front airbags, dynamic side impact beams and a built-in roll cage. ECO Motor Co. is having crash testing performed by the same laboratory used by big automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“It’s not a 5-star, but it’s better than four and a half,” David Joner said of the crash testing rating with a 5 serving as tops.
A base price of $13,995 gets you a manual transmission, convertible top, power windows and locks, air-conditioning, an AM/FM/MP3 player and airbags. Choosing the available automatic transmission ups the price by $1,000.
David Joner, who has worked as a sales manager for several Eastside car dealerships, lives in Newport Hills. He was driving along Newcastle Way and decided the Newcastle Professional Center would make a great office. Periodically, he parks the EMC3 near the entrance of the office building outside of Sweet Decadence.
“I think it’s cool and you can even ride in the car pool lane,” said Sandra Wixon, owner of Sweet Decadence.
The car made its debut at the Seattle Auto Show and will be on display at the Seattle Green Festival March 28-29 at the state Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. The festival is a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America.
“The EMC3 offers basic transportation that uses a regular gas engine and should deliver phenomenal mileage numbers while not compromising safety,” David Joner said. “You should see the smiles on people’s faces when we tell them we’re delivering a car that gets 60 miles to the gallon and will leave a better carbon footprint.”