Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles must be going mainstream. I saw an ad for Budweiser on some channel recently. A granny-with-attitude, zipping round town in her cool NEV, right into the liquor store to pick up her can of Bud. She was quite a cool granny, a bit like my own Gran (except my Gran never drank beer, more like sherry).
Anyways the point is, these zippy little NEVs offer independence and freedom to lots of older folk who don't like to drive conventional cars anymore.
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles are now popping up in gated communities, retirement villages, holiday resorts and on enclosed campuses, such as airports and government institutions. If you spot NEVs for rental at your holiday resort, my advice is to rent one out and see how you like it.
NEVs are the perfect vehicles for doing errands around town in, when you don't need to use high speeds, or travel long distances.
For many people, this kind of journey makes up a large part of their driving, especially home-workers, stay-at-home Moms and older people.
These are the precise journeys for which a gas engine is most unsuitable and most wasteful of energy. Gas engines cause most pollution when the engine is first turned on. Therefore short journeys are very high on emissions.
Given what they are designed to do, NEVS are very efficient. Because they don't have to provide speed, they work well on affordable lead batteries.
Generally you can recharge your NEV by connecting your battery charger to a standard household 110 volt outlet (your coffee-maker outlet) This will take you about 6-8 hours to recharge.
If you use a 220 volt outlet (clothes dryer) you can halve the time it takes.
NEVs have a range of between 30 and 60 miles before they need recharging, so that should easily cover your short daily journeys. (Hey, how much shopping can a person do?)
In general, NEVs cost less than the price of an average gas-car. Finance for NEVs is available from The E-Loans Company. Your fuel costs will be from 1-3 cents per mile, depending on the price of your electricity and whether you charge up at night.
Some towns and resorts are really NEV-friendly, others aren't. But I reckon many more towns will be making their roads and pathways NEV-friendly in the coming years. Get onto your local Mayor and make your opinion known, if you would like a NEV-friendly town!
What Are NEVs?
Many NEVs look like golf carts. To avoid confusion, make sure you check out the differences on this page, and buy what it is you need.
Basically, NEVs are electric cars that have a speed-limiter that stops them going more than 25 miles per hour.
They are defined by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a vehicle with four wheels, a top speed between 20 and 25 mph, and a gross weight less than 2,500 pounds, with an official designation as a “low speed vehicle.”
Outside of the U.S., check with your regulatory authority for the position on NEVS. Because they only do low speeds, they are licensed differently to normal-speed cars and cannot go on all roads because they could be a hazard.
In the U.S. they are legal to use on most urban roads where there is a speed limit of under 35 miles per hour. However, regulations differ from state to state, so check locally before you buy and make sure your NEV will be street legal!
In terms of legal requirements, NEVs come somewhere in between a golf cart and a "proper" car. In most countries, your NEV must have a vehicle number, proper lights, mirrors, parking brakes, horn, seat belts and windshield.
Types of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles
There are many NEV styles, so whatever your personality, you're sure to find a match. Some are open top, more like golf carts. Others are like conventional cars.
GLOBAL ELECTRIC MOTORCARS (GEM)
This company is part of the Chrysler group and is the market leader in NEVs.
They have open-design, but there is an option for canvas and hard doors. They are powered by a DC motor. The standard is 5 horsepower with an optional upgrade to 7 horsepower on some models and standard on the e6. They also have many other customizable, optional extras, making them a very flexible vehicle. They are very keenly priced, ranging from approximately $7000 to $12,500.
Dynasty Electric Cars, based in British Columbia, have a range of Dynasty iT NEVS to offer.
All these Neighborhood Electric Vehicles have an aluminum frame with chassis made of molded fibreglass. They are powered by flooded lead-acid batteries. (Optional choice of Deka gel cell batteries.) They are recharged with an onboard Delta-Q battery charger and it takes about 12 hours. They range in price from $14,000 to $25,000.
Miles Electric Vehicles have a number of NEV models:
Miles Neighborhood Electric Vehicles run on sealed lead-acid batteries. They seat four passengers. They range in price from approximately $15,000 to $19,000.
ZENN (Zero Emissions No Noise)
The Zenn is a very normal looking 4-wheeler, hatchback which carries two passengers. It has a comfortable interior and high performance engine with regenerative braking. It is basically a high-spec Neighborhood Electric Vehicle that looks and feels like a normal car. Its maximum speed is 25 miles per hour. It has a range of 30-34 miles and works off lead-acid batteries. They can be 80% recharged in only three hours.
The Canada-based Zenn Motor Company, import the vehicle-shells from Europe, where they are made by the Microcar Company. The chassis is made with an alloy frame and ABS panels. It is then fitted with all its electric components in Canada and distributed in North America by Feel Good Cars. Given all this intercontinental movement, the Zenn is surprisingly affordable! It retails from $11,000 to $13,000 (U.S. dollars)
The Summit is priced from approximately $9,500 to $11,000. The Mega costs from $18,000 to $24,000.
The ZAP is not a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle because it has only three wheels and is officially classified as a motorbike, like the NmG. However, many people who are interested in NEVs might also like to consider the ZAP.
You can read more about the Zap electric car on this page.
They're clean! They're green!