If 2017 was the year of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, 2018 is shaping up to highlight another interesting electric vehicle (EV) industry trend, that of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV).
Quick & Efficient Neighborhood Electric Trips
We know the statistics about owning a vehicle. It is closer to a luxury for most and we hardly drive the things anyway (they sit parked ~97% of the time). Sure, many people absolutely need a car, but for the most part, we would be better off using ride-hailing/taxis and/or public transportation. Or we could use affordable, small, “neighborhood cars” for the vast majority of our trips and use the extra cash elsewhere. Sadly, the automotive industry never really cracked open the NEV market. They’d rather market and sell large, high-margin vehicles.
Step in, Eli! Eli is a company that has been working on a smart NEV with a few special features up its sleeves.
After a successful Indiegogo launch, Eli decided to continue with its idea of offering something electric for local hops. The company was founded over 2 years ago to see how it could help people better interact with their communities, and while we’re at it, rethink mobility in the context of modern communities.
Eli’s path to the electrification of a neighborhood vehicle is motivated in part by reducing emissions, but it goes in a bit of a different direction from the latest EV studs, which are heavy and expensive. In other words, the market still worships size, acceleration, and the almighty range — look at how much fanfare the Jaguar I-PACE gets. But the Eli is aimed at tackling the industry from the other end, serving up a smart yet affordable (genuinely affordable) EV that gets the job done in style but without flaunting it too much. The price is said to be ~$10,000. You can now reserve a car, with production expected to begin sometime this year.
Where Eli takes a decidedly interesting route is in not agreeing with the hype around autonomous vehicles (AV). The reason is that the company believes AV and in general carsharing services aren’t the perfect answer either. Simply put, AVs will continue to damage public roads, encourage longer commutes, and lead to more sprawl, leaving us yet again with more cars to the road.
Although the company humoristically says, “NEV truly is the underdog of alternative mobility,” we believe they should play a much more active roll on our roads, so we’re hopeful.
Quick Eli ZERO Specs
The Eli Zero can recharge a completely depleted battery pack in 4.5 hours on a level 2 charging system or 6 hours on a level one charger (that is, a normal electricity outlet in the wall) via a 1.6 kW onboard charger. Its top speed is 25 mph (40 km/h). There are two options for the battery packs, both 48V — 6.0 kWh or 8.3 kWh. The electric motor ranges from 4 kW to 8.8kW.
Why NEVs Are So Important For Our Mobility Needs
NEVs are an easy way to simplify our local or even regional mobility needs, lower demands on our city’s infrastructure, and lower high maintenance costs that do eventually come out of our pockets. NEVs also offer a way for those with less cash to access EVs — in style.
But, mostly, NEVs have the potential to get the job done, acting as short-hop transporters for regular errands and daily commutes. The several or tens of thousands of dollars you save can be used to really make your life better, not just add more metal and plastic to the road.