$5,700 electric micro-car seats 3, or carries 360 lb of cargoView gallery - 17 images
Take a mini-van and squish it to about a quarter size - that's roughly what you're looking at with the ZEV T3-1 Micro. This quirky, fully-enclosed, electric three-wheeler seats three if they're skinny, but we see it being much more of a hit as a cargo carrier.
West Virginia's ZEV continues to push forward in the zero-emissions space, producing a growing range of electric scoots that quietly lead the world in highway range.
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They're not glamorous; far from it. Most of the range look like regular old maxi-scooters, perhaps with a twist of Hayabusa in some of the larger scoots' aerodynamic fairings, and the LRC-T bikes feature an incredibly effective but equally unfashionable tilting 3-wheel platform not unlike the Piaggio MP3.
Effective but unfashionable is probably a good motto for ZEV's latest project, the T3-1 Micro enclosed trike - a miniature car, if you like, focused on short commutes and deliveries.
It's probably best described as a quarter of a minivan. The Micro has a single door, a single front seat, and a park brake, and is fully shielded from the weather, including a proper windscreen wiper. It's got windows you can wind down, and an optional sound system. You can probably fit two kids in the 35-inch wide rear seat, or one adult.
Like the rest of the ZEV range, it's battery-electric, using a 4-kilowatt (5.4 hp), oil-cooled transaxle motor. That's good for speeds up to 50km/h (30 mph) - and a range around 50 miles on the base silicate battery or 70 miles on an optional Lithium upgrade. Longer ranges are possible with custom battery packs.
The T3-1 Micro is a scooter at heart, and that's how you drive it, with a set of handlebars and no pedals at all. If this thing was built for fun and handling, you'd hope the two wheels would be at the front - but the conventional trike configuration should work well with the 51 x 35-inch, 360-pound (163 kg) rear cargo carrying capacity.
One huge selling feature for the ZEV T3-1 Micro is that in many US states, you don't need a motorcycle license. In some, you can drive it on a regular car license, in others, it qualifies as a moped, needing no license or registration at all.
The other big surprise is the price tag: US$5490 with the 50-mile silicate battery, $8990 with the 70-mile Lithium option. That's an extraordinary price for what looks like a decently finished little vehicle, and we can see it being hugely popular as a short-range delivery machine.
The photos we have don't do ZEV's efforts justice, but this is a small operation, and what these guys lack in flash, they appear to make up for in solid engineering.
More information: ZEV T3-1 MicroView gallery - 17 images