Use a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle for Short Trips

October/November 2006


If you just need a vehicle for short trips around your neighborhood, then you might consider buying a 'neighborhood electric vehicle,' or NEV. In most states, these 'carlets' can legally travel on public roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less.

? These small, quiet and inexpensive cars can travel 25 mph for up to 30 miles before their lead-acid batteries must be recharged. To keep the batteries charged, you must plug in the NEV.

? The estimated annual cost to drive an NEV 100 miles a week (at 8 cents per kilowatt-hour) is only about $58.

? NEVs (as well as all electric vehicles) are marvelously energy-efficient: More than 90 percent of the energy imparted to the motor is turned into useful work; more than 85 percent of the energy used to charge the batteries is stored effectively. In contrast, the maximum theoretical efficiency of the typical gas engine is about 30 percent; in diesel engines it is 35 percent. This means that only a tiny fraction of that energy in a gallon of gas actually ends up doing useful work ? the rest is wasted as heat.

So next time you need to buy an energy-efficient vehicle for short trips around town, give NEVs a look ? you might decide they are the perfect choice.

Some NEV manufacturers:
? Global Electric Motorcar (GEM)
? Cart-Rite
? Columbia ParCar
? Dynasty Electric Car