ZEV Electric is one of the oldest companies in the electric vehicle business, having started making electric motorcycles and scooters 11 years ago. ZEV currently makes the world’s longest range and fastest electric motor scooters with speeds to over 100 mph and range to 185 miles. It has the largest model line of electric 2 & 3 wheelers in the world. But – ZEV was getting calls and emails from the 97% of the population who did not drive motorcycles about what they wanted. The result was a market driven response to people contacting the company and asking specifically for the development of something small, that would be the absolute lowest cost to buy and own. Contrary to what is normally assumed, would be buyers did not want big range nor speed. They recognized that their use pattern would be to drive to work or for errands in a round trip of less than 30 miles. These same would be buyers recognized that their driving would not involve highway driving, so speeds need not be high. Generally, commuter vehicles also only have one person in the vehicle. So speeds of 30 mph, and range of 35 miles would fulfill many people’s needs. A charging time of 4.5 hours off of a normal 120 house wall plug (faster on 220) lets people charge at work or at home, or about anywhere they can find a plug. For the next tier of customer use needing more range, ZEV offers a long range version of the T3-1 with a larger capacity lithium battery pack for $8,900 for 50 mile range. http://zelectricvehicle.com/31.html
To make the vehicle as low cost to operate, ZEV created the vehicle so that it could be licensed as a motorcycle with extremely low insurance and registration costs. In many states the vehicle can be driven without a license, or insurance, or tags. Many other states have rules that allow enclosed trike motorcycle to be driven on a car license. Insurance companies in the past have issued full coverage for ZEV for between $90 and $130 a year.
To make the vehicle as low of a cost as possible to build and purchase, the concept was to use motor scooter and cycle body construction with injection molded plastic to form the body over a steel tube chassis to drive the cost down. A fully painted body kit can be installed by virtually any owner with a screwdriver and a small socket set for less than $900 should any damage be incurred. A set of replacement battery are $350 and expected to last at least two years. These batteries can be replaced by just about anyone with basic hand tools. The motor is an AC induction motor of 4 Kw.
To make the vehicle usable by as many people as possible and to conform to the motor scooter regulations, the vehicle has all controls on the handlebars. No foot controls at all. The T3-1 has a flat floor at a low height to aid entry/exit. The double doors with roll up windows open almost straight out from the vehicle sides. There is space behind the rider’s seat for a folding wheelchair. The rider’s seat is on a sliding track and tilts to let two people enter the rear seat or cargo area. The rider’s seat can accommodate 6 ft tall riders and leave headroom. A 350 lb rider has also driven the vehicle.
As a T3-1 costs less than a golf cart, and has far more range and speed, it is expected to offer an alternative to people who live in areas where golf carts are used on roads, but not be limited to the often special road areas carts can be restricted to. As UTV and ATV vehicles are not usually allowed on roads, the T3-1 can be an alternative to those. The T3-1 is also faster than NEV vehicles and costs far less also.
ZEV are delivered direct to the customer’s residence in areas where there are no dealers. ZEV expects that the T3-1 will become the first of an expanding line of faster and longer range trikes to be released and fully complementary to its current line of 2 wheeled vehicles into the future.