‘Light electric vehicles’ are cheaper and more energy efficient than even standard EVs. But U.S. road regulations and city design may be holding them back.

As growing research shows, even electric vehicles are tough on the environment, due to the minerals required for their batteries, and the wear and tear on roads. “It’s just ridiculous to have that within the city,” Lutz says. Meanwhile, the Luvly, which starts at €10,000, weighs about 880 pounds (compared to 4,000 pounds for the average car), and is much more energy efficient than most EVs. It’s fitted with a smaller battery, uses less material (the exterior is recyclable thermo-plastic), and costs less to run.

Vehicles like this are common in European cities. They’re are known as quadricycles, which are a type of LEV, or light electric vehicle, an official classification that also includes e-scooters and e-bikes. Each country sets its own rules, but LEVs are generally allowed on highways, though Lutz, whose model can reach 90km/hr (56 mph), says that would be “an extreme use case.”

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