Tiny Eli Zero urban EV priced at $11,990, goes up to 90 miles—slowly


Eli Electric Vehicles on Tuesday opened U.S. reservations for its Eli Zero, a tiny urban EV with a starting price of $11,900.

Launched with help from crowdfunding, the Zero was first shown in 2017 and began shipping to European dealers in 2021. At the time, Eli said it was targeting a 2022 launch for the U.S. That date has slipped significantly, but Eli claims to have delivered hundreds of vehicles in both Europe and French Polynesia in the interim.

Eli Zero

The company now plans to start U.S. sales in the third quarter of this year, with deliveries after that. It’s taking $200 refundable deposits to secure a build slot; sales for 2024 will be limited to these reservation-holders. Eli plans to sell vehicles “through local distributors and dealer partners” and claims to have an assembly plant capable of producing 4,000 vehicles per year.

Measuring just 4.5 feet wide and 7.4 feet long, the aluminum two-seat Eli Zero is classified as a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) in the U.S. As such, it has a top speed of just 25 mph. The price is a bit higher than Eli previously quoted, but the battery pack is larger as well, affording more range. It’s now 8 or 12 kwh, enough for 60 or 90 miles of range, respectively, compared to 5.8 kwh and 50 miles.

Eli Zero

Eli Zero

The Zero also has some convenience features like soft-close doors and a Sony infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We have a feeling it’s not quite going to be of the caliber of that in upcoming Afeela EVs from Sony and Honda, though.

The low-speed Zero is a completely different take on a light-and-lean EV versus the Aptera 3-wheeler, which aims for 400 miles of range in its launch spec and performance more like that of conventional cars, or Arcimoto, which classified its 3-wheelers as “autocycles,” putting them in the motorcycle family and again allowing for higher speeds.

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