Home » The SARIT Is A Tiny Electric Microcar From Canada With A Strange Gasoline-Doomsday Sales Pitch

The SARIT Is A Tiny Electric Microcar From Canada With A Strange Gasoline-Doomsday Sales Pitch

Sarit Topshot

Imagine for a second that you were the billionaire head of an automotive parts and manufacturing company. What passion project would you spend your billions on? Perhaps you’d go racing, or exclusively commute using a different French Sans Permis vehicle for each day of the week, but Magna International founder Frank Stronach decided to develop a very cheap, very slow electric microcar called the SARIT. Welcome to Canada’s latest contribution to the world of motoring.

Unsurprisingly, SARIT is an acronym, one that stands for Safe, Affordable, Reliable, Innovative Transportation. Let’s start with the Safe part of that equation, as three-wheeled vehicles with one wheel at the front have an unfortunate reputation for tipping over. While little seems to have been done to counter the inherent imbalance of a design like this, the SARIT takes safety holistically with an extruded aluminum frame and a very low minimum speed limiter for pedestrian safety. Set the three-stage speed controller to low and this little thing will creep up to 2.5 mph (four km/h), roughly the average walking speed. I presume that being hit by a SARIT at that speed would be a bit like walking blindly into a porta potty – not exactly a fluffy cushion of marshmallow crème, but minor enough to shrug off and keep moving.

Right, so what about the Affordable part of the name? Well, local news organization York Region Media Group reports that the SARIT is expected to retail for between $6,000 and $7,000 Canadian dollars, or between roughly $4,425 and $5,130 American dollars. That’s well-aged used car money for a brand new EV, so there’s definitely a degree of affordability here. Mind you, I’m not so sure if affordability means value. A cheap and terrible early Nissan Leaf won’t be brand new and won’t have the same compact form factor as the SARIT, but it’ll do stuff like go on medium-speed roads and fit more than two people inside.

Sarit Interior

Two people? In this little thing? Apparently so, as SARIT claims it offers “1 and 2-passenger (motorcycle-style) seating.” Given that four of these are said to fit within a standard parking space, make sure whoever you’re bringing along for the ride isn’t very big and is on extremely friendly terms. At roughly 90 inches long and 42 inches wide, this thing will make a Smart Fortwo look like a city bus.

Mind you, SARIT seems to be making steps in the right direction regarding the Reliable part of its name. This little thing packs an LFP battery for longevity mated to a somewhat peculiar drive axle. The electric motor is mounted directly to a live axle, which means unsprung weight should be rather high. Granted, range is very reasonable at 62 miles (100 km), but top speed is limited to a rather low 20 mph (32 km/h). Fine for urban gridlock, but I can picture several arterial roads in Toronto where you’d just about get run over for going that slowly. Bayview just north of Sunnybrook, for example.

[Ed note: This is like Jason’s Changli, except with more range. As a commuter in quiet neighborhoods, this could work nicely. -DT]. 

Sarit 2

So, how about the Innovative part of the name? Well, as a greater concept, I’m not sure how innovative the SARIT is. From the Brütsch Mopetta to the Carver One, the narrow three-wheeler thing has been done before. Plus, other microcars have displayed more flair. For example, the Reyonnah 175, a very small car that could narrow its front track to fit inside garden gates. Sure, the extruded tubular aluminum frame of the SARIT is unique, but it doesn’t seem groundbreaking in the microcar space.

Sarit Rear

Finally, we get to the Transportation in SARIT. Yes, this is most certainly transportation, and a fair step up from a space hopper or pogo stick. It’s enclosed from the elements, there’s space for a light shop at the local grocer, and it even has a delightfully quirky set of tail lights with chevron-shaped indicators. You steer with a set of handlebars, the doors are fully removable for fresh air motoring, and this little thing has a lockable trunk for you to put things in. I could totally see myself using one of these things to run around downtown on a humid June day, trying to channel the spirit of the music video for Len’s Steal My Sunshine while picking up a pizza.

trunk

Perhaps most interesting is the positioning of the SARIT as an internal combustion doomsday vehicle. Stronach remarked to York Region Media Group: “When I look three years down the road, gasoline prices will triple. When I look 10 years down the road, gasoline will be rationed.” According to oil industry publication RigZone, Fitch Solutions seems to have a very different perspective, forecasting gasoline futures falling to $2.14 per gallon in 2025. Bloomberg clocks in a bit higher at $2.66 per gallon in 2025, which is still down from 2022 averages. While it’s possible that gas taxes will increase in the coming years, gasoline prices tripling in three years seems a bit of a long shot.

Regardless, I reckon it’ll be fun seeing this little thing out and about. The SARIT is expected to go on sale in 2023, rolling out of a brand new factory near Aurora, Ontario, roughly half an hour north of Toronto. While I’m not exactly expecting this pint-sized low-speed electric vehicle to be a success, the world’s a brighter place with one more tiny car in it. Plus, it comes with its own song. No, I’m not joking.

Terribly sorry for subjecting you to that. Still, the other promo vid features Birdemic-tier acting and still includes questionable music, so I’ll spare you that second-hand embarrassment.

All photos courtesy of SARIT

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24 Responses

  1. Unless these were allowed in Bike lanes and only bike lanes they would just congest traffic and lead to tons of stress all around, this is not safe in any way.

  2. Really like the turn signals! I’m assuming it’s meant to be registered as a motorcycle given the single rear brake light. I wonder if the 20mph top speed is related to the high unsprung weight due to the motor being on the live axle? I would think things could go pear-shaped pretty quickly at highway speeds over bumps.

  3. “Two people? In this little thing?”

    Yes, well, my HMV Freeway is also supposed to be able to carry a passenger but the factory documentation specifies that this is to be accomplished by removing the seat so that two people can sit in tandem on the floor. I’ve never been able to find a volunteer…

  4. 62 miles of range, 20mph top speed, two people sitting tandem, motorcycle-style? Even at around $5,000, it really seems too limiting to have much mass appeal.

    I mean, its a clever design, and I really like it in principle, but if I was going to add a whole additional vehicle to my garage/driveway, it would have to at least get to highway speeds and have enough range to get me to the beach at back for the afternoon.

    Still, I really don’t know why everyone has to try and reinvent the 3-wheeler, Reliant sold something like 500,000 cars over the years, nearly all of which with a simple fiberglass body on galvanized steel frame, solid rear axle on leaf springs, and a front/mid engine, with seating for 4 plus luggage, highway cruising ability, and still like 60+ mpg. Its a ridiculously simple, basic design that would be ludicrously cheap to tool for, and, with modern automation, could be built cheaply also (Reliants were expensive because they were built in a Dickensian brick factory complex with as much hand labor as an old Rolls-Royce, the company never really upgraded their assembly lines as technology advanced) Just crib what they did, round off the corners and add a fake floating roof pillar and some more wacky creases here and there, and replace all gauges and controls with cheap, off the shelf touch screens.

    1. I don’t think people are trying to reinvent 3 wheelers. They are doing it because 3 wheelers / bikes have less safety equipment requirements/ crash standards etc. Just like pickups (at least in North America) generates more profit for manufacturers. The class of vehicles allow new up and comers to leave out some legally required equipment vs 4 wheeled vehicles and manufacturers just go for it.

      1. Obviously safety regs are the why a company is interested in a 3-wheeler, but that doesn’t explain why every company is trying some weird new take on the concept instead of just making a conventional lightweight small car that just happens to have one less wheel. Because a rolling suppository with tandem seating is never going to sell in anything like volume numbers. A 3 door 4 seat hatchback with 3 wheels just might

  5. These are the EVs I like, not the $60k+ ones that few can afford.
    This is not a bad concept but it needs to do a bit more than 20 mph. That isn’t even cutting it in a city, they would be moving roadblocks. Heck, my Super Cub does 45-50 mph with my fat ass on it and that still feels slow sometimes.
    I’m secretly dreaming of electric Tuk Tuks that can carry 4 people, and do 50 mph. In the winter, equipped with soft tops, in the summer, take all the doors and windows off.
    Or EVs like the Daihatsu Midget.
    I think these would be lovely city vehicles.

  6. I don’t really get why Westerners keep trying to reinvent the local tansportation wheel. There is absolutely nothing wrong about the tens if not hundreds of millions of Changli and Changli-adjacent four wheelers, three wheelers, cargo trikes with enclosed cabs/tuktuks, etc. that power the entire rest of the world.

    Nothing wrong except we’ve walled ourselves in legally and culturally such that everybody looks down upon any mode of transport that’s not a private full on NHTSA/FMVSS automobile.

  7. I find it mind-boggling that a Canadian thought this was a good idea for our winters. Or maybe along with his thoughts on the price of gas he thinks global warming is going to eliminate snow in short order. I also suspect the speed limiting is to claim that this is a electric bicycle and that you won’t need insurance or a license to drive it, but I don’t see the pedals. And the price is crazy for what you get. The lowest speed limit around here is 40 km/h, so even at the 20 mph speed this thing is just a moving pylon, and half of them end up on their sides along the curb.

  8. The ribbed plastic panels make these look like port a john’s. Then again a lot of tiny scooter engine powered things look that way. Only the Piaggio Ape and Daihatsu Midget seem to have any panache. I’m still wondering what the use case is for a neighborhood electric vehicle outside of places with minimal car traffic

  9. One would expect a shoppingmobile to have room for actual shopping. Otherwise a cute contraption, the song fortunately ensures this will never ever enter my evoked set of car alternatives. My ears still hurt!

  10. It’s more atavistic than innovative, isn’t it? It’s like some kind of evolutionary throwback to the Crap Era of electric vehicles, albeit with a better battery chemistry than was available in the 1970s.

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