My family and I are talking about going to Victoria, B.C. this summer for part of our vacation. If I go, you can bet I will be checking out the car rental program at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria. I may even choose a SOLO vehicle to drive. My wife and son won’t be too happy, but it will be one of the coolest cars I have driven in a while. You see, the SOLO is a one-passenger vehicle with two wheels in the front and one in the back. Made by Electra Meccanica, the SOLO has a range of 100 miles and is all decked out in green leaves and the logo of the hotel.
The property has two SOLO cars and two Toyota Prius vehicles that guests can book through the property’s MY STAY. MY CAR. program. A specific website was created for the program. See it at http://mystaymycar.com/. When booking a stay, guests can add a Toyota Prius or SOLO electric commuter car to their room for $20 to $30 and receive complimentary parking. (It costs $20/day for valet parking.)
The hotel has been offering the SOLO vehicles since last May. The cars are made in nearby Vancouver, B.C. and dealerships are located only in Los Angeles, Portland (Ore.), Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C. Each SOLO costs $15,500.
Kirsten Kost, Director of Sales & Marketing at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria, says the hotel is the only one in the world that has SOLO cars made by Electra Meccanica. The cars were purchased last May. “It’s been a good experience,” Kost says. “The program has been very popular. Everyone is talking about them. The interest has been high.” While purchased primarily for corporate travelers, all types of guests have been using the SOLOs.
You Can’t Drive Too Far in a SOLO
Because the SOLO vehicles have a range of only 100 miles, guests are encouraged to stay within the city. “We try to discourage long drives,” Kost says. The cars are charged by staff prior to guest use and after guest use. The hotel has two electric vehicle charging stations. Guests receive instruction before driving off with a SOLO.
Kost says the hotel’s MY STAY. MY CAR. campaign has been particularly effective at getting the Toyotas and SOLOs rented.
Acquiring the Solos was the idea of the hotel’s management company, Mairet Hotels. The idea was then pitched to Hilton which agreed to the SOLOs.
Kost, who has driven a Solo, says it gets a bit of getting used to. “You draw a lot of attention,” she says. “At first it feels odd. You can exit the car left or right. It drives smooth and has a push to it.”
The SOLO currently has a top speed of about 82 mph and 99 percent fewer parts than a combustion engine. According to Bloomberg News, by December, 5,000 Solos will be zipping around the streets of Los Angeles, with an additional 70,000 to be delivered over the next two years across the West Coast.
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