Sharing Light Electric Vehicles – The Urban Mobility Solution
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Many cities started thinking about a different vehicle type in order to allow its population and visitors urban traffic solutions with a roof and four wheels. These so called Light Electric Vehicles represent a vehicle, that is not considered a car. In Europe, most countries name this vehicle a “Class L”, which regulates the conditions for light single and double-track motor vehicles. These are laid down in the separate EU regulation 2013/168/EU from January 2013.

These light electric vehicles are particularly suitable for electric operation. The name for the category is accordingly light electric vehicle, although other names are in circulation, see below. These electric light vehicles are ideally suited for short distances. And here is the truth: we drive an average of 35 kilometers per day in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. As a sustainable mobility solution, the demand for electric vehicles in this L7e category will increase significantly in the coming years.

Unlike electric cars, however, no uniform name has yet developed for this 'light electric vehicle' category among electrically powered vehicles. Therefore, manufacturers, the media and the automotive industry have a whole range of names for these electric L7e vehicles, which we have compiled here as examples (sorted alphabetically):

City LEVs
Light electric vehicles
Electric runabout
LEM (Light Electric Vehicle)
LEV (Light Electric Vehicle)
NAFA (Short Distance Vehicle)
SDV (Short Distance Vehicle)

What advantages do L7e light electric vehicles offer?

Light electric vehicles have significant advantages over electric cars due to their low weight. Consumption is significantly lower, especially in inner-city areas. Light electric vehicles require less parking space; between 2 and 4 light electric vehicles fit in a conventional car parking space. In the L7e class of light electric vehicles, power is limited to 15 kW, but there is no speed limit for these vehicles.

The Ami © Citroën
The Ami © Citroën

And indeed, there has been quite a bit of development from car manufacturers. In addition to the French Renault Twizy, which has already been available on the market for years, Renault created the electric urban brand called Mobilize. These vehicles will be available for sharing in French urban centers or available for private usage.

Another sharing expert is the AMI vehicle from Citroën. In Paris we find 5,000 of these LEVs on the busy streets for sharing, starting at the age of 14 years. Citroën has built the Ami to be the perfect electric car for the commuting Parisian. It makes parking effortless, reduces congestion, and as it doesn't burn fuel, it will help improve the air quality of city centers. Our colleague Tom recently wrote this special post about the Ami in Paris.

There are other manufacturers dedicated to the L7e vehicle segment. These include the French manufacturer AIXAM with two electric versions of its eCity moped car (up to 45 km/h) or the Swiss family company Microlino. After some teething problems, the Microlino is now on the home stretch and will hit European roads in autumn 2021.

Car sharing with small electric vehicles ticks many boxes when it comes to smart urban mobility. Urban spaces for vehicles are getting smaller and smaller, with these LEVs between 2 and 4 vehicles find space on existing parking spots. Combined with the capacity of sharing via the smartphone of the user, LEVs provide the solution to tomorrows demands in our cities.

Renault's Mobilize EZ-1 Prototype ©