Automotive

Eli Zero is the new NEV on the block

The Eli Zero's mileage is a claimed 350 MPGe (0.7 l/100km equivalent)
The Eli Zero's mileage is a claimed 350 MPGe (0.7 l/100km equivalent)
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The Eli Zero's mileage is a claimed 350 MPGe (0.7 l/100km equivalent)
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The Eli Zero's mileage is a claimed 350 MPGe (0.7 l/100km equivalent)
The Eli Zero's doors are each made from a single sheet of thermoplastic-reinforced tempered glass
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The Eli Zero's doors are each made from a single sheet of thermoplastic-reinforced tempered glass
The Eli Zero has a lightweight high-tensile aluminum frame
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The Eli Zero has a lightweight high-tensile aluminum frame
The Eli Zero accommodates two people plus a bit of cargo
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The Eli Zero accommodates two people plus a bit of cargo
Pricing for the Eli Zero is expected to range from $9,900 to $10,900
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Pricing for the Eli Zero is expected to range from $9,900 to $10,900

Many people see electric cars as something that's great for getting around town, but not for taking on long highway trips. Well, that's where neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) come in. They're designed specifically for shorter, low-speed jaunts – and the Eli Zero is one of the latest to hit the scene.

First conceived of by Eli founder Marcus Li when he was studying architecture in New York City, the Zero accommodates two people plus a bit of cargo, and has a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h).

The base model has a claimed range of 55 miles (89 km) under optimum driving conditions, while the bigger-batteried Plus version is good for 85 miles (137 km). Speaking of which, the Samsung lithium battery pack can be charged from a regular outlet in 6 hours, or in 4.5 hours from a Level-2 charging station using a standard J1772 plug.

Pricing for the Eli Zero is expected to range from $9,900 to $10,900
Pricing for the Eli Zero is expected to range from $9,900 to $10,900

A lightweight high-tensile aluminum frame, along with doors that are each made from a single sheet of thermoplastic-reinforced tempered glass, result in a curb weight of just 877 lb (398 kg) for the base model and 904 lb (410 kg) for the Plus. This reportedly helps with the car's battery range, as does a Vehicle Management System that maximizes energy-efficiency, along with a system that recovers energy while braking.

Other features include cruise control, a tiltable sunroof, electromagnetic brakes, an anti-theft motor-locking system and a central multi-purpose dial on the dash. Oh yes, and the vehicle can also detect when its driver is approaching, and unlock the doors for them.

If you're interested in buying a Zero of your own, Eli is now accepting pre-orders – the first 100 customers will get one for US$7,700, assuming it reaches production – and an Indiegogo campaign is scheduled to begin next month. We're told that retail pricing is expected to range from $9,900 to $10,900, with delivery taking place in December.

Source: Eli

9 comments
Tommygun1969
Oh man, nearly a good idea but 40kmph! Shouldn't it at least be able to keep up with traffic? Venturing onto streets with a 30mph or 50kmph speed limit would be horrible if there was regular traffic traveling at or just above the speed limit. I'd say 60kmph is what they should at least be able to do to avoid hate from drivers of regular vehicles.
Quo
With a top speed of 25 mph, does it really need cruise control?
BenH
I got excited until I saw the top speed of 25mph. That would be useless in a city like San Francisco. You would need at least 35mph to keep up with most traffic. Too bad, everything else about this vehicle looks good.
martinkopplow
I've been trying a few 40km/h EVs and the case is pretty clear: Way too slow. 80km/h on a country road still lets other drivers behind you get nervous and they take unnessecary risks to pass you by, even 40-ton-trucks do. I do now have one nimble little NEV that can hit 100km/h on the city highway, and that is about appropriate. 120km/h would be good, and if it only was for short sprints. That way, it can swim with the big fish and not be an obstacle in the traffic flow, posing dangers to its own driver and to other traffic. Make it 110km/h and I'm in.
brianp
For a single owner, the battery spec might be okay. But this would really come into its own as a neighborhood community vehicle for sharing - except that it will only run for 2 hours at max speed and then need to sit idle for nearly 5 hours charging. How much extra would it cost to have a very-rapid-charge system added ?
Deres
Isn't it a direct copy of the Twizy in more expensive ? Moreover, the twizy exists in the 80 version that can go to 80 km/h (45 mph), Thusis more practical with also its 100 km range. There were already a chinese copy, now an american one. Strange for such a small niche market as only 20 000 Twizy were sold in 6 years despite maketing and strong media presence.
BobMunck
Any potential for self-driving? I'm thinking of the needs of the disabled who can't drive themselves but still need transportation. I'm thinking of my mother in her nursing home; she was essentially trapped there except when we drove up for two days every other week. The ideal configuration would be no seats and maybe no side doors but rather a powered ramp in back that would allow a wheelchair to enter and exit. A top speed of 25 mph would have been no problem in her small town.
Bruce H. Anderson
It is a very expensive golf cart.
bhtooefr
I'll note that NEV is a term that specifically refers to an electric vehicle that complies with FMVSS 500 Low Speed Vehicle regulations. Most NEVs are basically golf carts that have been uprated in speed to 25 MPH, and most states that allow them restrict them to roads with a 35 MPH or lower speed limit. Where they're mostly used is sprawling retirement villages that are specifically designed for golf carts and similar vehicles, where there isn't traffic to keep up with. Ultimately, it's a mostly useless class outside of that narrow retirement village use case - not much faster than an electric bicycle, but forbidden from using any cycling infrastructure, and an electric bicycle can also use roadways that this can't.