A UN report suggests that while 50% of the worldwide population lives within inner cities, this figure will increase to 66% by 2050. This type of change in demographic brings many challenges one of which will be inner city transport networks and the fact that the roads will be even busier than ever. While there is no doubt that electric vehicles in general will offer a very useful - and in time a very efficient mode of transport - many people are now suggesting that light electric vehicles (LEVs) could be the way forward.
What is a light electric vehicle?
An LEV is classified as a two or three wheel vehicle weighing less than 200lbs which is powered by a battery, fuel cell, or some form of hybrid system. Even though electric cars are grabbing the headlines in relation to electric vehicles at the moment there are already an array of light electric vehicles available for use today. There are many advantages to this slightly different form of transport which include:
Light electric vehicles are ultra-efficient due to their size, weigh,t and the fact that many incorporate pedal power together with electric power. As obesity becomes a major problem around the world there is also the potential to assist with increased exercise which itself will have a positive impact on health.
At under 200lbs, a light electric vehicle is very easy to carry around, can be taken on many forms of public transport in between use and does not take up much storage space at home. Whether we will see people using light electric vehicles as a mode of transport to work remains to be seen but it would not take much of a sea change in attitudes for this to emerge.
Due to the weight and structure of a light electric vehicle, battery power is extremely long and efficient and it is unlikely they would need to be recharged throughout the day. A simple charging system at home will allow you to "top up" when required, taking away the need for a light electric vehicle charging station network. As this is one of the major problems with electric vehicles in general at the moment, this is an extremely big positive.
There's only one real drawback at the moment which is the cost of light electric vehicles which are stuck somewhere in between the cost of a traditional bicycle and a small car. However there has been great progress over the last couple of years and as light electric vehicles continue to gnaw away at the mass market we should see these costs come down.
As more and more people are forced to live within inner city boundaries this will create more pressure for public transport and transport networks in general. The addition of light electric vehicles does not attract any major investment from the authorities and is something growing in popularity today and likely to continue for some time to come. Could light electric vehicles be the answer to inner-city congestion?