Urban Transport

$5,700 electric micro-car seats 3, or carries 360 lb of cargo

$5,700 electric micro-car seat...
ZEV T3-1 Micro: this awkward looking quarter-size minivan can carry 3 people, or a bunch of cargo 
ZEV T3-1 Micro: this awkward looking quarter-size minivan can carry 3 people, or a bunch of cargo 
View 17 Images
ZEV T3-1 Micro: tiny electric city getabout
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: tiny electric city getabout
ZEV T3-1 Micro: cockpit, handlebar and dash
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: cockpit, handlebar and dash
ZEV T3-1 Micro: front seat tilts and slides out of the way to allow access to the rear seats
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: front seat tilts and slides out of the way to allow access to the rear seats
ZEV T3-1 Micro: seat tilt and slide levers
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: seat tilt and slide levers
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: 35-inch wide rear seat large enough for one adult or 2 kids
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: 35-inch wide rear seat large enough for one adult or 2 kids
ZEV T3-1 Micro: handlebars with brake levers
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: handlebars with brake levers
ZEV T3-1 Micro: park brake
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: park brake
ZEV T3-1 Micro: tiny electric 3-wheeler car is fully weather sealed and can carry 360 lbs of cargo
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: tiny electric 3-wheeler car is fully weather sealed and can carry 360 lbs of cargo
ZEV T3-1 Micro: battery packs
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: battery packs
ZEV T3-1 Micro: windows can be wound down
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: windows can be wound down
ZEV T3-1 Micro: this awkward looking quarter-size minivan can carry 3 people, or a bunch of cargo 
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: this awkward looking quarter-size minivan can carry 3 people, or a bunch of cargo 
ZEV T3-1 Micro: driuver's seat
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: driuver's seat
ZEV T3-1 Micro: electric motor on the rear axle
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: electric motor on the rear axle
ZEV T3-1 Micro: glass windscreen with wiper
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: glass windscreen with wiper
ZEV T3-1 Micro: wide front tyre
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: wide front tyre
ZEV T3-1 Micro: we can see this being a hit for short range deliveries
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ZEV T3-1 Micro: we can see this being a hit for short range deliveries
View 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.

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.

ZEV T3-1 Micro: we can see this being a hit for short range deliveries
ZEV T3-1 Micro: we can see this being a hit for short range 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.

ZEV T3-1 Micro: handlebars with brake levers
ZEV T3-1 Micro: handlebars with brake levers

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 Micro

View gallery - 17 images
24 comments
Daishi
They make a reverse trike scooter. I wish they would have gone with a reverse config for this. I'd still love to see someone actually get their hands on a working one for the stated price and do a long term review on it. It seems impressively low priced but I generally tend to be skeptical about these sorts of things. I'm a little suspicious.
bergamot69
Something like this would be incredibly dangerous in a city like London- which tends to see a lot of 'stop-start' driving (the forte of an electric vehicle)- however, as London traffic can suddenly get up to speed quite quickly, this vehicle with its low top speed would be vulnerable to being cut up and literally run off the road.
Buellrider
I know it is not for speed but putting the two wheels in front would have made this trike a much worthier design. Hit a patch of anti-freeze, oil or whatever whilst going around a corner and that little front wheel will slide but probably not if the two wheels were up front. Why not just give it 4 wheels and then it would be safer and not loose hauling capacity by having two wheels up front. As is, it is a fail to me.
Alengoner
For $5700, how many squirrels are included?
DannyMore
Looks cool. But you will never get one in the US..... Big Oil will see to that..
Veronica Roach
Reminds me of the Italian 'Isetta' we had as a 2nd car when my kids were small in UK - very much like this but with the 1 wheel at the back - I used to toggle around my neighborhood with all 4 kids tucked into the back seat - that was BEFORE the days of laws requiring seat belts for every kid ! (1966 or so ) - very cheap to run, and a real pleasure to ride in, in the country where we lived - not so much in traffic !
jerryd
I may be wrong but these scream Chinese and if so, will fall apart in short order sadly as we really need EVs like these. I drive a EV trike pickup of the same size hough much bigger MC wheel on front and 14' car ires on rear from a Kaw 750 front end and a golfcart transaxle hot-rodded with double voltage and larger dia tires give around 45mph. With used EV battery modules now no problem making these 100 mile cheaply. A good scrounger could put it together for $1k-2k.
PeterOsborne
Seems like a good pizza or Chinese food delivery vehicle..... that's about all....
Username
Why all the descriptive gymnastics? It's an electric tuk-tuk.
bhtooefr
This is likely an off the shelf Chinese design (like their other vehicles are AFAIK), with the possibility that they make the odd component in the US, and final assembly is in the US. (That said, I've heard some bad, bad things about their quality and customer service...)
That also explains the delta layout, because low speed delta trikes are a rather popular thing in China.
As far as city usage, depends on how assertive you are, and the speed limits in your city - how do light quadricycles like the Renault Twizy do on London surface streets, with a 2 mph lower top speed?