Infrastructure // PC & Servers
News
10/7/2008
10:30 PM
50%
50%

Green Car Showroom: 12 Low-Speed Electric Vehicles

Check out our pictures of green, 25 mph lightweights, which cost pennies to operate, from upstart automakers Zap, Zenn, Dynasty IT, Miles Electric, and E-Ride.

It feels like we've been waiting for the electric car forever. Or at least since the 1830s, when the first battery-powered electric carriages were built.

While we continue to wait for GM and other major automakers to shake off their big oil hangovers and start delivering on their electric vehicle promises -- the Chevy Volt is still about two years away -- impatient drivers can choose from a handful of hybrids and a class of vehicle that has received much less attention: the neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV).




Zap's tiny Xebra Xero is a three-wheeler intended for city use. It costs about $12,000.
(click for image gallery)

Officially, NEVs (or LSVs -- low-speed electric vehicles) as they are classified by the U.S. Department of Transportation, are four-wheeled motor vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds and a top speed of between 20 to 25 mph. Each state has its own laws about low-speed electric vehicles.

Unofficially, NEVs can be odd ducks. Not designed to be replacements for gas-powered cars, they routinely turn heads and attract stares with their peculiar shapes. Many have paint jobs straight from the Sesame Street palette.

Dealerships that carry NEVs are harder to come by than Birkenstocks at an Exxon board meeting. But with a little effort, they can be found. And while low-speed electric vehicles are not practical for either large loads or long drives, they may be just the thing for quick commutes, local errands, and tooling around the neighborhood or job site, cleanly and inexpensively.

Before plunking down a deposit on an NEV, though, be aware that some vehicle vendors are struggling. Nevco has ceased manufacturing the Gizmo, citing financial difficulties. Zap has had some bad press, and one of Spark EV's top executives was arrested earlier this year for allegedly bilking two dealerships out of cars. Buyer beware.

For a look at all 12 electric cars we tracked down, click here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.