But neighborhood electric cars could have potential
Aside from less interest in cars compared to previous generations, another reason millennials are driving less is because many parents are in no hurry to give their kids the keys to the car. Perhaps one day this over-protective attitude could lead to real interest in Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs).
In order for that to happen, however, NEVs such as Greentech Automotive’s MyCar will need some serious price reductions.
While parents might not mind handing over the keys to a 25 mph vehicle that is only allowed on roads with speeds of less than 35 mph to their 16 year olds, most won’t want to fork out $18,000 for such a vehicle.
Until those costs come down; however, NEVs might still find a home outside of the US, or in rich, gated communities. Which is Greentech’s goal, at least for now.
Nevertheless, I do like the concept. With new safety features, even small two seat commuter vehicles can be made very safe, and limiting the speed of these vehicles — and also the roads they can legally traverse — only makes these cars that much safer. Such vehicles could be a great introduction to driving.
So, there is logic behind the MyCar, but maybe it’s the design that is the real stumbling block to a cheaper product.
Or, maybe battery-powered vehicles are just too expensive without breakthroughs, even if tiny.
At a few European auto shows last year, a number of automakers showcased NEV concepts. None looked like a small version of a more conventional car. Instead, each felt entirely more futuristic. Perhaps such designs could offer cheaper production systems, greater safety? Besides, NEVs are a great way to transform — to rethink — personal mobility.
On the other hand, GM’s EN-V looks more like a glorified rickshaw. But if that helps keep down costs — with safety still ensured — then that might be the right direction. Give it auto-drive and make it a mobile smartphone on wheels, and the kids won’t even need a license.
But it can’t cost $18,000. For $18,000, there are some great, real cars available. Hence the MyCar needs to do a better job of breaking the transportation mold.
Then again, that might be a moot point today. It’s quite possible — highly probable — that the technologies for cost-competitive neighborhood electric cars just aren’t quite ripe enough yet.