For Some, Low-Speed Electric Vehicles Are Still the Right Choice

AUG 4 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 14

For those that don’t need to travel far or to get somewhere in a hurry, perhaps a low-speed electric vehicles (aka NEV) is the right choice.

ZENN

ZENN

It is for Julie Conigliaro, who’s been loving every minute spent behind the wheel of her ZENN.

Back in 2008, Conigliaro purchased her ZENN.  It can only go for approximately 35 miles on a full charge, but that’s way more than enough to meet her needs.  Conigliaro works just 4 miles from her home and has no problem taking back roads to get there.  The ZENN’s 25-mph top speed sort of prevents her from cruising down most of the major roads in the area, but that’s okay, says Wisconsin-resident Conigliaro.

While we can’t quite recommend purchasing a ZENN (you’ll see why we say that by clicking here), we do realize that low-speed electric vehicles deserve a place in the driveways of some.

For Conigliaro, the price of the ZENN was the selling point.  After rebates, the electric ZENN cost Conigliaro only $5,000.

Yes, Conigliaro has more than one vehicle, as do almost all who own a low-speed electric, but it’s the ZENN that used daily.

And despite what some may believe, interest in low-speed electrics is on the rise.  Take, for example, the number of registered low-speed electrics in Wisconsin.  In 2007, only 1 was registered in the state.  By the end of 2012, that number stood at over 350.

The same is true in several states and there are even countries out there that have more low-speed electric registered than regular electric vehicles.

So, it seems for some, low-speed is the right choice.

Source: Journal Times

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14 Comments on "For Some, Low-Speed Electric Vehicles Are Still the Right Choice"

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NEVs are largely dead because the Fed tax-credit is heavily tilted toward full-speed EVs. Although a few loopholes in state incentive programs did allow some people to buy NEVs for very cheap, I think most of those incentives are gone now. How did this person get it for only $5K? Must have been some state incentive program.

I just can’t see the point of an NEV. The main issue is the 25 mph speed limit. Even in my city, which has very low speed limits compared to neighboring cities, most streets are posted at 30 mph. And you can imagine most people drive 35 on those streets. If I got out there with an NEV going 25 mph, I’d have a traffic jam behind me and a lot of mad people. This won’t accomplish anything to help further the cause of electric vehicles. I could sort of see if they changed the laws so that there was a classification of NEV that could do at least 45 mph (computer limited, so that it could even sustain this speed up a steep hill) then the usage case would be tremendously higher. But honestly, the real issue is price. I bet it would cost nearly as much to build a 45 mph NEV as it would to build a regular highway capable EV. And here’s another thought. It is relatively easy to get a 2001-2003 Prius with a dead battery for $5,000 or less, then swap in a larger battery of some kind that can be recharged at home.… Read more »

I really think these types of cars are banned in the state of Virginia in that they are really picky about a car only going 25% of the speed limit. Another thing which would kill the idea of driving these cars is that all the local 25 mile on hour streets do not link into one another but instead are shaped like a branch that funnels you on to a main four to eight lane wide central highway with a minimum 45 to 55 mile on hour speed limit and tons of heavy fast moving traffic.

But another thing to add to this debate is that these types of cars where out before main stream full sized EV’s came out and why would you pay a large amount of money for one when you can get a full sized one for almost the same price.

I had to go look up what “NEV” stood for (not explained anywhere in the article). Neighborhood Electric Vehicle.

Thanks. I was wondering what that stood for also.. gone are the days of writing etiquette where acronyms weren’t thrown around without at least once referencing the full meaning in the passage.

Sorry for the oversight…Here’s a basic definition: Neighborhood Electric Vehicles or NEV is a vehicle that is capable of traveling at a maximum speed of 25mph. They come with safety features like headlights, turn signals and seat belts. In most States and in some Canadian provinces they can be operated on the roads where the posted speed limit is 35mph or less and can cross streets posted at 45mph or less. They may also be referred to as Low Speed Vehicles or LSVs

Thanks Eric!

seems worthless

this makes the smart ED seem like a supercar lol only 74 hp but smart ed is very quick though

I wouldn’t mind cruising around in a Twizzy for fun.
Especially the Sport F1

Yeah, but at least the Twizy can do up to 50 mph on the high-end model. That wouldn’t leave a traffic jam behind you on city streets.

The Twizy is so full of win. It would have zero practical use in my life, but at about $7,000 USD here if it was available after credits…I would so buy one.

The other issue here is safety. NEVs are not required to (and usually don’t) meet the same requirements as normal cars. They aren’t crash tested against real cars, and usually don’t have the structures or safety equipment.

You are safer than on a motorcycle, but not by much.

Where I live, the local laws prohibit NEVs from traveling highways, because they are not safe enough. Yet I have seen a few already on highways and dangerously slowing down that lane!