top of page

Light electric vehicles

Light electric vehicle

Overview of electric light vehicles / LEV

In Europe there is a so-called vehicle class L, which regulates the conditions for light single- and two-track motor vehicles. These are set out in the own EU regulation 2013/168/EU from January 2013. An interesting part of this group are smaller vehicles, whose field of application extends primarily to cities and their surrounding areas.

Light electric vehicles (LEVs) play an important role as a sustainable mobility solution. Since electric light vehicles are significantly smaller and lighter than a classic automobile, they make an important contribution to climate & Resource conservation. Due to their size advantage, they take up less space in stationary and moving traffic, reduce noise and consume less CO2 and primary energy over their life cycle. This includes all vehicle classes from L1e to L7e. The two-wheeled vehicle classes L1e to L3e includeS-Pedelecs ande-scooter untile-motorcycle. The L4e class includes two-wheeled motor vehicles with a sidecar. Three-wheeled vehicles (motorcycles) with three symmetrically arranged wheels and a maximum design speed of more than 45 km/h are classified in class L5e. Micromobility with the eKFV class also completes the offer. We also find the vehicle classes L6e and L7e.

Light electric vehicle Chart

The hope for sustainable, urban transport

Vehicles in class L6e are 4-wheeled light vehicles and may travel at a maximum speed of 45 km/h and do not exceed a maximum engine output of 4 kilowatts. These vehicles can be driven with the classic “moped driving license”. TheLeadrappear AM (that's the official name) can be done from the age of 16. Who knows, maybe the young people of the future will no longer be using mopeds but will be using light electric vehicles to hit the streets of their home village.

The L7e class consists of light vehicles with 4 wheels that can be used with an unladen mass of up to 450 kg (up to 600 kg for freight transport) without batteries for electric vehicles and a maximum useful power of up to 15 kW. As a sustainable mobility solution, the demand for electric vehicles in this L7e category will increase significantly in the coming years.

Light electric vehicles are particularly suitable for electric operation. The name for the category is light electric vehicle, although there are other names in circulation, see below. The electric light vehicles are ideal for short journeys; ultimately we drive an average of 35 kilometers per day in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Unlike electric cars, however, no uniform name has yet been developed for this category of 'light electric vehicles' among electrically powered vehicles. There are therefore a whole range of names for these electric L7e vehicles among manufacturers, the media and in the automotive industry, which we have put together here as an example (sorting is alphabetical):

  • City electrician

  • Light electric vehicles

  • Electric speedster

  • LEM (Light Electric Vehicle)

  • LEV (Light Electric Vehicle)

  • NAFA (local transport vehicle)

  • SDV (Short Distance Vehicle)


What advantages do light electric vehicles offer?

Light electric vehicles have significant advantages over electric cars due to their low weight. Consumption is significantly lower, especially in inner-city areas. Light electric cars require less parking space; a conventional car parking space can accommodate between 2 and 4 light electric vehicles.

How did the engineers come up with electric light vehicles? Classic mopeds are not ideal for use in wet and cold conditions. That's why resourceful engineers came up with the idea of giving these small electric vehicles 4 wheels and a roof and light electric vehicles were born.

Further background information on light electric vehicles

Light electric vehicles in class L6e may not exceed a maximum speed of 45 km/h and a maximum power of 4 kW. In some federal states such as Bavaria, these vehicles can be driven at the age of 16. In the L7e class of light electric vehicles, the useful power is limited to 15 kW, but there is no speed limit for these vehicles.

Light electric vehicles, such as the vehicles listed in L7e, do not receive any environmental bonus in Germany according to current circumstances. Only those vehicles that fall under the category of passenger cars (M1) or as commercial vehicles (N1 or N2 up to driving license category B) are eligible for this. The political background for this in recent years has been that there were no manufacturers for this vehicle category in Germany. The short term: so why promote it?

At the end of 2019, however, the Green Party group made a fundamental request to promote L7e vehicles. Ultimately, it is not subsidies for manufacturers that are necessary, but rather support for vehicle owners in switching to environmentally friendly drives.

In which countries are light electric vehicles supported?

The advantages of light e-vehicles and their use in cities are already leading to targeted funding in some cities. In a study, the Baden-Württemberg state agency found that more than half of the traffic volume in kilometers could be covered by light electric vehicles. The federal state therefore promotes electric light vehicles just like North Rhine-Westphalia. Targeted funding is also offered in individual cities such as Limburg, Munich and Regensburg. In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, there are already areas where you can only drive in a light vehicle.

However, Japan has made the furthest progress in implementing the promotion of light vehicles. There is a separate vehicle class for which the state gives a tax rebate. These light cars, called 'kei cars', do not need to provide proof of parking space. They have now achieved a market share of 40 percent of newly registered vehicles.

Manufacturers are making further developments in light e-vehicles

And a lot has actually happened on the part of the manufacturers. In addition to the French Renault Twizy, which has been available on the market for years, there are now other manufacturers who are dedicated to the L7e vehicle segment. These include the French AIXAM with two electric versions of its eCity moped car (up to 45 km/h) and the Swiss family companyMicrolino. After certain teething problems, the Microlino has now reached the home stretch and will begin European deliveries in 2022. In 2023, the vehicle range will be expanded to include two more variants. The Microlino Lite (45 km/h) is an L6e version of the Microlino aimed at younger customers. Designed to be reminiscent of the beach vehicles of the 1960s, the Microlino Spiaggina features a white and blue striped fabric roof and is open on the sides and rear.

The target groups of manufacturers of light electric vehicles

The target groups of Aixam or Citroën with its electricAmi are young people who are allowed to drive this light vehicle from the age of 16. In Paris this is possible from the age of 14. The vehicles are considered a very popular entry-level vehicle, especially in rural areas without sufficient transport infrastructure. In addition to this young target group, older people are among the buyers and drivers of electric light vehicles. You no longer need a large, expensive car for your mobility and yet you don't want to completely do without a vehicle that can take you (dry) to the shops, doctor's appointments or to the theater.

Companies are increasingly relying on e-light vehicles

Urban e-mobility also plays an important role in the B2B sector. The range of cargo light vehicles, such as B. ARI Motors or Goupil, grows constantly. Or how about a cargo e-bike on 4 wheels, e.g. the Loadster Citkar? They offer a clean alternative for delivery services, craft businesses and corporations with extensive premises. Municipalities and municipalities are now also taking advantage of this offer.

Since 2010, ISEKI-maschinen GmbH, whose mother from Japan produces tractors for municipal operations, has been the general importer for the Goupil brand from France. Goupil was founded in France in 1996 and is a specialist in fully electronically powered commercial vehicles. Today's product range includes three main vehicles, which can be ordered in a wide variety of battery sizes and equipment variants.

The major customer for the use of Goupil light electric vehicles is Picnic GmbH, a subsidiary of the Dutch food supplier. Picnic is a food supplier that is environmentally friendly through its entire corporate strategy. Picnic now has several hundred electric Goupil vehicles in use to deliver to its customers in Germany alone.

bottom of page