Eli is betting you’ll want to cruise the hood in this two-seater ‘NEV’

Eli Electric Vehicles plans to deliver the first 100 Eli Zero neighborhood vehicles in late 2018 to reservation holders. Following the Eli Zero’s debut for feedback at CES 2017, the company now casts it as the “ultimate NEV for every household.”

NEVs, or Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, are federally classified low-speed vehicles (LSVs) limited to 25 to 35 mph top speeds. Individual states determine legal maximum speed, road usage, licensing, and other regulations.

Whether or not you’ve heard of NEVs, the companies that make them are thinking about you. The growth of ride-sharing, car-sharing, and automotive brand subscription models foreshadows a societal shift in transportation away from single owners to shared vehicles. The demise of “the 20th-century engine of the American Dream,” as described in the Washington Post, is coming fast.

Many fingers point to millennials as the auto ownership buzz-killers. However, Digital Trends’ casual observations in U.S. cities and at airport arrival and pickup curbs tell a different story. Millennials may have led the shift to ride-sharing, but other generations followed.

Preparing for the shift toward Mobility as a Service (MaaS), companies such as Eli that already have experience manufacturing golf cars and other LSVs anticipate the shared use of neighborhood or community cars.

In a recent phone conversation, Eli CEO Marcus Li told Digital Trends that simplicity and fun were the Zero’s guiding design principles. Li said the goal was to make the Eli Zero as easy to operate as an iPad.

The Zero is not just a golf cart with doors and a roof. Standard features include heating and air conditioning, USB charging, a radio, and signature LED lights front, rear, and on the steering wheel. Bluetooth wireless supports proximity detection to turn on the temperature control and automatically unlock the Eli. The user can hop in the driver’s seat, press the start button, and take off with little fuss.

Standard-size Samsung Lithium-ion batteries power the Eli Zero. The batteries charge fully in 6 hours plugged into a household 110V outlet or 4.5 hours at Level-2 charging stations via a standard J1772 port. Thirteen battery safety measures include temperature and insulation protection, BMS fault detection, and more.

The Eli Zero’s maximum fully charged range is 85 miles, enough for short daily commutes or neighborhood convenience trips. Li’s marketing team is currently working with NEV-friendly neighborhood developments in several states. College campuses offer another potential opportunity for early adoption.

Urban centers and close cluster suburban areas developed with Mobility-as-a-Service concepts may see the greatest density of NEVs such as the Eli Zero.

While the Zero is the launch model, Li told Digital Trends greater passenger or storage capacity are possible on the same platform, depending on demand. Reservations for the Eli Zero start at less than $10,000.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Double your charging speed with Nomad’s Tesla Model 3 wireless charger

Nomad's wireless charger for the Tesla Model 3 fits the EV's charging dock exactly. If you plug both of the Nomad's into the Model 3's two front USB ports you can charge two smartphones quickly or one phone twice as fast.

From salt flats to sand dunes, adventuring off-grid in Audi’s electric E-Tron

Digital Trends traveled to the Namibian desert to get an early taste of the all-electric 2019 Audi e-tron. We drove prototypes on a variety of terrains, including dunes and a salt pan.

Tread lightly in Bollinger’s ruggedly cool electric pickup truck

New York-based Bollinger Motors has unveiled an electric pickup truck rugged enough for work or play. Named B2, it's a boxy beast with unusual specifications. It has 520 horsepower yet it can tow 7,500 pounds or haul 5,000 pounds.

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.

Are European-style self-dimming and glare-free headlights coming to the U.S.?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposes to allow adaptive LED headlights on vehicles sold in the U.S. Adaptive LEDs automatically lower headlight intensity when they detect pedestrians or oncoming vehicles.

Porsche upgrades German factory to build Taycan electric cars

A Porsche factory that currently builds the automaker's popular sports cars will soon begin churning out Taycan electric cars. In preparation, Porsche is upgrading the factory to be high tech and low emissions.

Vanderhall Carmel adds creature comforts to the basic three-wheeler formula

The Vanderhall Carmel is the fifth three-wheeler from Utah-based Vanderhall Motor Works. It takes the basic design of the Vanderhall Venice and adds a handful of creature comforts, as well as a more powerful engine.

Race car or daily driver? Choose either with the 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS

Porsche has expanded the Panamera lineup with a midrange, GTS-badged model. Part race car and part daily driver, it's the variant we've been waiting for since the current-generation Panamera arrived in 2017.
Emerging Tech

Shrimp eyes inspire new camera focused on helping self-driving cars see better

By mimicking the vision of mantis shrimp, researchers were able to make significant improvements on today’s commercial cameras. They hope their technology can help mitigate accidents by letting self-driving vehicles see more clearly.

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.

Watch this 1,000-horsepower Jeep Trackhawk scorch supercars in the quarter mile

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is pretty quick out of the box, but Texas tuner Hennessey Performance Engineering never settles for stock. Its HPE1200 Trackhawk boasts over 1,000 horsepower.

Hold on to your butts: These are the fastest cars in the world

Think your car is unbelievably fast? Think again. From wind-cheating bodywork to powerful engines, these cars were designed for the singular pursuit of speed (and it shows).

Room to roam: The supersized X7 is unlike any BMW you’ve ever seen

The first-ever BMW X7 is the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image. Its supersized body has enough room for seven adult passengers and enough tech to impress even the most cutting-edge buyers.