If you’ve seen this vehicle driving around South Towson, you’ve probably wondered what it is.

It’s an electric solar powered neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) called the E3. It is part of a beta test of a new model called the E3 developed by an entrepreneur in Denver, CO. The E3 is manufactured to US specifications in Qing Dao, China. The factory’s main export markets for similar platforms are India and Turkey.

Why 3 wheels and a handlebar?

The E3’s “tuk-tuk” platform is ubiquitous throughout Asia, and that high global volume means a lower cost platform for an NEV’s.  The vehicles are highly maneuverable and mechanically simple. The weight of the batteries lowers the center of gravity and makes the vehicle a lot more stable than it appears. Clearly this isn’t as safe as a car, but it’s a lot safer than a motorcycle.

Benefits: Zero Emissions and Low Costs

The E3 is designed for short trips that don’t require going on highways or roads over 35mph, hence the name neighborhood electric vehicles. It could reduce wear and tear on a large family car, or be used as a local delivery vehicle. The targeted functionality is:

  • Zero emission electric vehicle
  • Supports 4 passengers
  • 30-40 mile range
    • 100 amp solar panel extends range and reduces cosT
  • 250+ mile per gallon cost equivalent (@$2.75/ gallon).
    • MPG equivalent increases with more solar / metered electricity
  • 30-35 mph top speed
  • Cost less than $5k

What do you think? Would this sort of product interest you? Do you have ideas of your own?  Send me an email to stephenmcintire4MD@gmail.com.

MD’s Regulatory Environment is Hostile to Alternate Vehicles

The E3 has been successfully licensed and registered as a motor scooter in Colorado and California. Maryland law is however overly bureaucratic and prescriptive in how vehicles are classified and registered.

Del. Lafferty co-sponsored a bill in 2012 (HB-149) that increase taxes on mopeds and require moped owners purchase liability insurance, it was part of the O’Malley agenda to tax and regulate anything that moved. The $100 a year a moped owner pays for insurance pads the insurance companies bottom line as few claims for damage-by-moped are ever paid out.

Lafferty’s bill made an efficient, low-cost form transportation more trouble than it was worth to most owners, so the state collects little money for the burden it imposes on its people. The bill also inadvertently banned electric bikes for several years until the legislature corrected their mistake, and established Maryland’s overly rigid regulatory structure.

Encouraging Innovation in Alternate Vehicles

Climate change is a serious risk and demands a serious response. Part of that response should be to encourage entrepreneurial experimentation in efficiency improvements, including alternative vehicles. While there is a clear case for regulating emissions and taxing carbon consumption to reflect its true cost to the planet, this is an example of how less regulation and more individual liberty could help the environment immensely.

Unnecessary or badly designed regulation makes it impossible for small scale entrepreneurs to develop innovative new products. If it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal compliance or lobbying expenses to create an innovative product, only large established companies or wealthy individuals will be able to take the risk (and receive the financial rewards). Established car companies have little desire to create low-cost alternatives that cannibalize their automobile sales.

As Delegate, I will promote policies make Maryland a leader in innovative clean energy technology, including alternate vehicles. This requires a regulatory environment that encourages entrepreneurship. My understanding and expertise is why I’ve been endorsed by Maryland Businesses for Responsive Government, the most prominent business group in Annapolis. We can do better with a little bit of reform and common sense.

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