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ECO ECM3: Lord it's hard to be humble when your rear wheel starts to sway
- Type: Gas-powered vehicle
- Class: Motorcycle (three wheels)
- Manufacturer: ECO Motor Company
- Propulsion system: 1.0 liter SOHC 6-valve in-line 3-cylinder engine (max output 52 hp)
- Top Speed: NA
- Vehicle range: 600 miles
- Fuel(s): Conventional gasoline
- Tank capacity: 10 gallons
- Fuel economy: 60 mpg
- Price: $13,995
- Availability: 2010
The manufacturer says
Based in Newcastle, WA, the ECM3 Commuter came to life in 2005, initially as nothing more than a summer project between current company founder and CEO David Joner and his then-11 year old son and 9 year old daughter which has now blossomed into much more than that. In fact, ECO's website boasts that "the amazing engineering" of the vehicle "has its humble beginnings rooted in the ingenuity of an American family," leading at least one reader to wonder whether ECO knows the meaning of the word humble.
Joner's background is at the ol' dealership. In sales. But before you scoff or gag, think about it. Who better to run a car company but a car salesman?
What we like
The cockpit: While it looks a bit snug, I love the cleverness in placing the entire console in the center of the car, with the gauges shifted towards the driver.
The safety: Despite being a motorcycle, the ECM3 has been built to automobile safety standards. Not only that, but in March 2009 Joner told a local online magazine that the ECM3 was going to be safety tested by the very same lab contracted by Detroit and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and that the ECM3 is "not a 5-star, but it’s better than four and a half."
If true, they've chosen to omit it from the safety information while at the same time noting the car's equally critical Trunk Entrapment Release feature. Curious choice.
The Targa top: What else is there to say? If you're going to commute an hour or two every day, might as well be in a convertible.
What we don’t
The design: From some angles it's not so bad, but one thing's true: she looks better coming than she does going. The bulky design overemphasizes the single wheel with a clueless abandon, seemingly oblivious to how bad it looks.
In another dazzling example of humility, ECO claims that hundreds of dealerships throughout the world are right now committed to bringing this "automotive piece of history" to market. A request for dealer information went unanswered, but that's OK because there's something more important going on here.
Can that $14,000 MSRP be accurate? It's almost incredulously low, considering the modest financial resources of such a small start-up company trying to compete in the US auto market, right?
Enter the true measure of ECO's American ingenuity: the ECM3 is being manufactured in China.
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