SUN CITY WEST, Ariz. — It runs on electricity, does about 25 mph, travels about 30 miles before needing a recharge--and is being marketed first in this retirement community where golf carts are common.
It's Bombardier Motor Corp. of America's Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a two-seater that starts at about $6,700.
The little vehicle that went on display Nov. 12 is billed as just the thing for jaunts to the bank, grocery store or clubhouse. Plug it into a standard household AC outlet overnight and it's ready to go again.
It will be legal on Arizona roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less when driven by licensed, insured motorists.
"There is a need for this kind of transportation," said Claude Picard, who moved to Phoenix from Canada to head national marketing for the NEV. "Its mission is local transportation."
The cars began rolling off assembly lines Nov. 8 in Quebec. Arizona is the first target market.
They are designed for master-planned or gated communities such as this one and others growing up throughout the Sun Belt. Such communities are expected to increase by 10% to 25% over the next decade. Sun City West and its earlier sister, Sun City, about 14 miles west of Phoenix, have a population of about 75,000.
The NEV includes a windshield, a lockable trunk and automobile-type lights, brakes and steering. Music systems and detachable doors are available.
Joan Thomas, who test-drove an NEV for two weeks, called it safe and easy to handle. "It's got just enough zip and has a lot of character," she added. Its maker says it accelerates to 20 mph in six seconds.
Bombardier also produces aircraft, snowmobiles, ski-like watercraft and high-speed rail cars.