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Eli micro-EVs are a game-changer, and the startup is giving everyone a chance to invest

Published Jun 13th, 2024 11:07AM EDT
Image: Eli

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Electric vehicles seem like an inevitable evolution in the automotive industry. It’s not happening overnight, of course, but more and more EVs are being sold each year. The trend is expected to continue as new models are released, prices come down, and battery technology continues to improve.

Within the broader EV market, there are some segments that are more exciting than others. One of the most exciting market segments is one that might not even be on your radar yet. In regions across the globe, ultra-compact electric vehicles called micro-EVs are starting to proliferate. Micro-EVs will soon also get a big boost in the US, too, as market-leading startup Eli prepares to bring its flagship micro-EV to the local market.

The Eli ZERO is a disruptive EV with the potential to revolutionize urban mobility. According to McKinsey & Company, micro-EVs represent a $470 billion market opportunity. Now, Eli is raising a round that gives everyone the opportunity to invest ahead of its US launch later this year.

Why micro-EVs?

Eli ZERO Micro-EV
The Eli ZERO is perfect for daily trips, with up to 90 miles of range on a charge. Image source: Eli

As someone who has lived in and around New York City for my entire life, I can tell you from firsthand experience that getting around in big cities can be a nightmare.

When I drive in Manhattan, traffic jams are often so bad that it can take 30 minutes to drive half a mile. Busses and taxi cabs often aren’t any better since they have to deal with the same traffic. The subway system is a good alternative, but only if you have enough time for all the walking and waiting that goes along with it. Plus, New York subways are often an icebox in the winter and a sauna in the summer. No one wants to get to work, school, or an important meeting drenched in sweat.

Put plainly, urban areas weren’t designed with this volume of cars in mind. City congestion is messy, stressful, and a waste of time. Plus, that doesn’t even take into account how bad all this traffic is for the environment. Emissions are off the charts from all the congestion in big cities like New York and so many others around the world.

What if there was a better way? What if vehicles didn’t have to take up so much space? What if a vehicle could be just as comfortable in a city environment as a traditional sedan, but nearly as compact as a motorcycle? And what if it didn’t have to be so bad for the environment?

That’s the future that Eli is helping usher in with the Eli ZERO.

What is the Eli ZERO?

The Eli ZERO is one of the first examples of a street-legal micro-EV in the US. It’s also one of the best examples, as you can see in the video above, blending award-winning design with state-of-the-art automotive technology.

At just 88.6 inches long and 54.3 inches wide, it takes up about 30% as much space as an average sedan. The ZERO comfortably seats two adults and has 5.65 cubic feet of trunk space. Its top speed is 25 mph, and its range is 60 to 90 miles per charge. That’s way more than enough in the urban environments for which it was designed.

The Eli ZERO can be fully recharged in as little as 2-4 hours using a 240v outlet, and just like your phone, every power outlet, like the ones all over your home, including 120v, provides a charging opportunity.

Inside, this micro-EV is far more spacious than you would expect, with plenty of light and premium features. It has an optional Sony infotainment system with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and CarPlay, and comfortable seats with vegan leather included in the Plus version. The vehicle features keyless entry and go, a backup camera, heat and AC, LED headlights, power-assisted steering (EPS), four power-assisted brakes, a tiltable sunroof, a special eco mode for increased efficiency, and more.

The company designed the Eli ZERO as the ultimate hop-in-and-go vehicle for urban environments. It’s perfect for making your way around a city for the day, and then you can park and plug it in overnight. The forthcoming U.S. version of Eli ZERO will even feature ABS and EPB, along with several innovative new features suitable for a wide array of applications such as ride-sharing fleets, rental fleets, tourism, last-mile delivery, and other use cases.

In the US, the Eli ZERO starts at $11,990, and reservations are available with a fully refundable $200 deposit. The vehicle will be available first to reservation holders starting in late 2024.

Why should you invest?

Eli ZERO Micro-EV
You can see how compact the Eli ZERO is when it’s parked between two traditional cars. Image source: Eli

While Eli is a startup, and its debut car looks like a futuristic concept, the Eli ZERO is a very real EV that is being driven on the roads right now.

The ZERO has been on the market since 2022 in countries across Europe and elsewhere. The French Polynesian government has Eli ZERO cars in its official fleet. Avis has Eli ZERO rental cars available to tourists in Bora Bora. Eli micro-EVs are also on the roads in Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal, Estonia, and more, all with glowing reviews and hundreds of happy customers.

Now, Eli is giving everyone the opportunity to invest in the company as it prepares to expand to the US in 2024.

Eli recently opened a new investment round that is open to the general public. There’s less than a month to go before this round closes. At the time of this writing, more than 3,700 people have already invested in Eli Electric Vehicles and the company already raised nearly $5 million via equity crowdfunding to date.

With a current valuation of approximately $69 million, the micro-EV maker is offering class A common stock at $9.80 per share. The are also share bonuses of up to 15% available depending on how much you invest. “Proceeds from this round will go primarily towards production and expansion of our signature product, the Eli ZERO as we look to enter new markets and scale up our sales efforts,” the company explained. “Additionally, some proceeds from this raise will go towards other areas, including research and development and general operations.”

Eli ZERO Micro-EV
The Eli ZERO micro-EV feels like the future, but it’s already here now. Image source: Eli

Eli is well-positioned to be a global leader in the micro-EV market. The ZERO is already being sold in countries across Europe and elsewhere with more markets in the horizon, and Eli is ready for expansion as the ZERO’s US launch nears. The company recently opened a new production facility capable of manufacturing thousands of cars per year as Eli’s business grows.

“We opened a new production facility with a manufacturing capacity of 4,000+ vehicles per assembly line per year, implementing an innovative asset-light approach that eliminates resource-intensive processes,” Eli said. “This results in reduced costs, swift assembly, high quality, and rapid scalability.”

The Eli ZERO is just the start, and Eli is already developing exploring new technologies such as wireless charging and autonomous driving as well as new models to expand its lineup and services in the future. The company is also addressing related opportunities and recently launched a new Eli Energy business unit focused on solar charging.

Learn more about the Eli ZERO and the company’s current funding round on the Eli website. Of note, this investment round is scheduled to close on June 27.

Maren Estrada Deals Editor

Maren Estrada has been the Editor of BGR Deals since it launched in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience testing more than 1,500 products, and reviewing a wide range of consumer electronics including mobile devices, smart home products, computers, and home appliances.

Previously, she was a leading consultant specializing in copywriting, product development, and new product launches.