Eli ZERO, photo courtesy of Eli

Reservations Are Open For The $12K Eli ZERO Electric Microcar In The US

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

If you’ve been waiting for an über-cheap EV that can handle all of your daily driving needs on city streets, perhaps for commuting or running errands, and you don’t need it for roadtrips or hauling a bunch of passengers, you’re in luck. Eli Electric Vehicles recently announced that reservations for its flagship vehicle, the $12,000 Eli ZERO microcar, are now open in the US, and sales are expected to begin in the third quarter of this year.

Whether they’re called Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSEVs), Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), Short Commute Vehicles (SCVs), electric microcars, or anything else in between, these smaller and slower clean transport alternatives have a lot going for them. They’re not made for roadtrips or highway travel, but are instead designed for navigating and parking on city streets, with enough range for daily driving and with usually only enough room for two people. This segment of right-sized and human-scale zero emission vehicles that bridge the gap between e-bikes or scooters and full-sized EVs, which gets a lot of traction in places such as Europe and Asia, is starting to make inroads in the US as microcars such as the Eli ZERO begin to become available to order.

It’s been a minute since we’ve written about the Eli ZERO, with an update some four years ago stating that the company was planning to “start producing and selling in limited volumes in both the US and the EU in the 4th quarter of 2020.” However, while the Eli ZERO has already met with some success in Europe and French Polynesia since then, it’s only now that Eli is opening up reservations within the US.


Eli might have a tough row to hoe here in SUV-land and ginormous truck country, where people seem to think you need 300+ miles of range for an EV to be worth owning, as this little EV has a range of just 90 miles. And of course, the 25 mph top speed limit and the fact that it won’t be legal to drive on roads with speed limits over 35 mph is sure to also keep those same people from even considering one, never mind that most daily driving trips in the US are well under 90 miles, and average speeds in densely populated cities are likely to be no faster than what the Eli ZERO is capable of. That said, a $12,000 EV that costs peanuts to charge could be really appealing, especially as a second vehicle, as a full-sized vehicle (ICE or EV) with a longer range and a larger carrying capacity could stay parked most of the time and only be driven when necessary.

“The U.S. is the largest micro-EV market, with an addressable market of over $120 billion, representing a significant opportunity for Eli to lead in this segment. Our goal is to transform urban trips, empowering riders to reconnect with their communities through compact and agile EVs that allow for a better utilization of urban space, reduced congestion, ease of parking and ultimately an improved quality of life in cities.” — Marcus Li, CEO and founder of Eli Electric Vehicles


The Eli ZERO measures just 88.6″ (2250 mm) long by 54.3″ (1380 mm) wide by 62.5″ (1588 mm) high, and has 160L of cargo space in its trunk. It’s small enough to fit several of them in a standard parking spot, and with a turning radius of just 11.8 feet, it is easily maneuverable in even the tightest of city streets. The charge time on the Eli ZERO’s 12 kWh LFP battery pack using a 120V outlet is about 5 hours, and with a 240V outlet, charging time is just 2.5 hours, which means that even on longer commutes, a mid-day charge can restore the full range for the drive home.

The Eli ZERO isn’t devoid of features, either, as it has heat and AC, power steering, regenerative braking, ABS, an electronic parking brake, USB ports, a sunroof, keyless entry, a rear-view camera and parking sensors, LED lights, and options such as Bluetooth speakers and a SONY infotainment system, among other things. The base model is priced starting at $11,990, with the ZERO PLUS model offering features such as a vegan leather interior and more at a higher price point.

A $200 refundable reservation fee will get you a place in line to order an Eli ZERO, which the company says will be available “in limited quantities to reservation holders starting late 2024. Availability may vary by state or city and the order in which your reservation is received.”

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica.TV Videos

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

Derek Markham has 574 posts and counting. See all posts by Derek Markham