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.

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

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