For many EV buyers, the name of the game is range. Getting from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a single charge is paramount, and companies like
Other buyers, however, have no interest in keeping up with the e-Joneses, and simply want to be able to get to the grocery store and back. For these lower maintenance buyers, there’s the neighborhood electric vehicle.
What is an NEV?
Neighborhood electric vehicles, or NEVs, are classified officially by the
NHTSAas low-speed vehicles, or LSVs.
To qualify as an LSV, a vehicle must be four-wheeled and have “a maximum speed greater than 20 miles per hour, but not greater than 25 miles per hour.” A golf cart that has been modified to achieve these speed parameters would also qualify as an LSV.
An NEV can be driven legally in a few limited settings.
Tech Targetnotes that NEVs can be driven on streets with a 35 mph limit, and can cross streets with a 45 mph limit.
This may sound extremely feeble, but the rules are in place for good reason: most neighborhood electric vehicles are small, doorless, and ill-equipped for confrontation. But if your local bakery just opened up for the day and you promised your spouse fresh bread, parking couldn’t be easier.
The Bombardier NEV
The Bombardier NEV first hit the streets in 1996. Compact and cute at 100 inches long and 61 inches tall, according to
It Still Runs, the Bombardier NEV generated an adorable 5.3 hp, thanks to a fully electric 72-volt DC battery. Fully charged it would take passengers about 30 miles, says
MotorTrend also points out some of the use cases for the Bombardier NEV: since it is essentially a golf cart, it might be ideal for little tourist towns or for gated communities. Drivers can get from close place to close place without breaking the bank, and without worrying about the dangers of driving on the open road in a tiny vehicle.
In its heyday, the Bombardier NEV cost $7,000—which was a bargain even in the ‘90s. Drivers with local errands and access to a charging port were sitting pretty indeed.
Sadly, the Bombardier NEV has since been discontinued. Maybe try rolling down all the windows in your Tesla and taking the slowest route to Vons?
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