(Article published in Automotive Innovations magazine, March 2023)


By John C. Morris


The recent Canadian International Auto Show media day was light on new ICE vehicles but easily compensated with all manner of EVs and some surprising indoor test tracks including an electric Jeep trial course and a larger multi-brand EV test drive area that productively filled the space.


Up in the corner of the North Building, SARIT, a Canadian builder in Aurora, Ontario, had a test track and the journalists were lined up to speed around in the bright-coloured and adorable micro vehicles. Adding to the cache of these “cuties” is the name behind it—Frank Stronach, super successful Magna founder and celebrity in and out of the automotive world.


In self-aggrandizing journalist style, I mentioned that I had interviewed Stronach 25 years ago. Then Frank, himself, walked over. “I did a piece on you when you were a humble machinist,” I smiled. “I was never humble,” he corrected me with a huge grin.


From his roots in Canada, Stronach has built Magna into a global juggernaut, producing parts, seating, and, in its Magna Steyr facility in Graz, Austria, complete automobiles like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the conventional and hybrid versions of the BMW 5 series, the BMW Z4, the Jaguar E-PACE, and the Jaguar I-PACE electric vehicle, and the Toyota GR Supra.


But today, Frank was explaining that he was inspired to create the SARIT vehicle after getting stuck in a traffic jam in one of the most congested cities in the world. He noticed that almost all of the surrounding cars had just one passenger inside. And here it is at the show!


Let’s go!


I took the bike-like handlebars and controls and sped off. Immediate response—I gotta have one of these! It’s tiny, accelerates quickly and has an aluminum tubing framed enclosure. The doors come off—even more fun.


The range is approximately 100 km, top speed 32 km (slightly scary indoors), and the intelligent lithium battery recharges on house current with a built-in charger. The predicted price when it goes on sale next September is $6,000-7,000 Canadian.


Stronach believes this is the future and it’s tough to argue. Less than 8’ long and about 3’ wide, it can travel in a bike lane and park like a scooter. SARIT is a slightly self-conscious acronym for Safe Affordable Reliable Innovative Transport, but with the power behind it as well as within it, there’s reason to believe they will be cruising all over the place in large numbers pretty soon.

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