If you see a sleek three-wheeled vehicle reminiscent of the hot rods of yesteryear strutting its stuff in the sun around the roads this spring, it’s very likely a Provo-built Vanderhall.
Vanderhall Motor Works is crafting a new kind of vehicle in its Provo buildings, but it’s catching the eye of celebrities and auto lovers across the United States. Vanderhall’s latest three-wheeler, the Edison 2, caught the eye Shaquille O’Neal during an episode of “Outside the NBA,” filmed Jan. 12 at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Daniel Boyer, director of marketing for Vanderhall, said the Edison was well-received overall this year at CES — a showcase of innovation in consumer technology — even making a top cool gadgets list with CNN.
A Vanderhall three-wheeler isn’t necessarily for everyone. All three models, the Venice, Laguna and the Edison 2 — with their open two-seater cockpits — aren’t meant for rainy weather. Meant less for commuting and more for just enjoying the drive, they tap into those with a taste for the open road.
The vehicles are front-wheel drive, capable of going zero to 60 miles per hour in four seconds, and braking from that same speed within 100 feet. The Venice and Laguna are gas-powered, while the Edison 2 is fully electric.
The timeless and innovative design credit for these unique three-wheelers belongs to president and CEO Steve Hall. He’s loved motors and wheels since he was a toddler, and worked with vehicles of all types throughout his life. Just prior to Vanderhall, he owned a luxury vehicle dealership, but was always still tinkering away, building his own vehicles.
According to Boyer, in 2010, Hall chopped his dealership showroom in half, put up a wall, and started seriously working towards building his own vehicles. He decided to build something that would follow rules associated with motorcycles and stay in realm of the motorcycle classification, because it allowed more artistic license in his design. Boyer explained there are very stringent rules automobile makers must follow, and these sharply limit four-wheeled cars.
“As a motorcycle, those areas of design are more limitless,” Boyer said. “It gives us unlimited design characteristics, where we can play and create something that ultimately flashes back to Steve’s desire to bring something timeless, with effortless performance.”
Hall hit gold with his work, and once he decided to sell his dealership and develop his own vehicles full time in 2013, business started humming along. Vanderhall outgrew its early locations, and now functions out of two Provo buildings. Soon, though, Vanderhall will design, create and assemble its vehicles from a large building in south Provo.
The Vanderhall team broke ground on its new facility on Mountain Vista Parkway in October. The building will go vertical in stages, at 180,000 square feet at a time, until it extends more than a half mile long and a football field wide. At its eventual completion, it will more than house 1 million square feet.
The company employs about 50 currently, but at that point will house 900 employees. Many of those will be research and development teams, welders and assemblers, all working to hand-build each vehicle from the ground up.
“No robots here! We employ humans,” Boyer said, adding he doesn’t foresee any need to move to robots even as they grow.
While Vanderhalls are featured in 22 dealerships across the nation already, Utah customers have to purchase a Vanderhall outside of the state until later this year. Boyer and his team are negotiating Utah dealership locations in Salt Lake City, Utah County and the St. George area, and expect those to roll out within the next two months. By year’s end, customers looking for a Vanderhall can find them in about 40 dealerships nationwide.