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Eli Electric’s affordable micro-EV coming from China to the US despite new tariff

May 17

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In the face of recently announced tariffs exceeding 100% on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) bound for the United States, one automaker remains committed to bringing affordable EVs to American consumers. Eli Electric Vehicles is grappling with the implications of the new tariff rate on its plans to introduce a less expensive electric micro-car in the U.S. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles but has manufacturing operations in China.

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“We know there’s a strong, unfulfilled demand for affordable EVs in America,” James Seargent, head of U.S. operations for Eli Electric, said. “We are aware of the tariff communication that came through and I think one of the major components here is that it is an opportunity for us to look at how can we make sure that we are being very efficient with our supply chain.”

The compact dimensions of the company’s micro-car, the Eli ZERO, hold the potential to help the car remain relatively inexpensive.

“This is a targeted tariff on some of the vehicles that came through,” Seargent said. “We’re really evaluating how that fits with us as micro-EV manufacturer, and the [low-speed electric vehicle] space in America, it’s a little bit different than golf carts, but also a little bit different than full-size electric vehicles.”

High costs have long stood as a significant barrier to widespread EV adoption in the United States. Eli Electric sees leveraging China’s dominant EV supply chain as a means to drive prices down. Additionally, the company’s leaders also hope the company can facilitate the transition to electric mobility for American drivers.

“We actually have a subsidiary of our company, Eli Electric Vehicles, in China, particularly to be close to the supply chain,” Seargent said. “It’s the fact that we’re able to be there to see it, to build those relationships, and understand what we should utilize for our vehicle and kind of roll with that EV hub in that area. That’s what it really is going to be set us apart.”

Eli Electric currently manufactures the Eli ZERO, a street-legal vehicle boasting a range of up to 90 miles, in Shanghai. The manufacturer bills the car as an automobile capable of bridging the gap between micro and full-sized cars. The ZERO offers a range of features including power-assisted steering, radar parking sensors, a Sony infotainment system and more. All that comes at a cost of under $12,000. It is a price point which Eli Electric aims to keep steady despite the Biden administration’s new trade rules.

U.S. customers already started reserving their Eli ZERO models through a fully refundable $200 deposit with the company. Eli Electric anticipates a pre-Christmas debut on American roads. The EV manufacturer plans to make the ZERO available through local distributors and dealer partners nationwide.

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[JACK AYLMER]

WANT A CHEAP ELECTRIC VEHICLE?

WELL, THAT’S TOO BAD, BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT THINKS THEY’RE A THREAT TO OUR ECONOMY.

[PRES. JOE BIDEN]

“We’re never going to allow China to unfairly control the market for these cars, period.”-Biden

[JACK AYLMER]

BUT, ONE AUTOMAKER REMAINS DETERMINED TO BRING LESS EXPENSIVE EVS FROM CHINA TO THE STATES-

DESPITE THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED OVER 100 PERCENT TARIFF ON THESE PRODUCTS.

[JAMES SEARGENT]

“We are aware of the tariff communication that came through and I think one of the major components here is that it is an opportunity for us to look at how can we make sure that we are being very efficient with our supply chain.”

[JACK AYLMER]

JAMES SEARGENT IS THE HEAD OF U.S. OPERATIONS AT ELI ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

THEIR HEADQUARTERS IS BASED IN LOS ANGELES, BUT THEIR CARS ARE BUILT IN CHINA.

SEARGENT SAYS THE COMPANY IS STILL LOOKING INTO HOW THE NEW TARIFF RATE WILL IMPACT ITS PLAN TO BRING AN AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC MICRO CAR TO the states.

THE SMALLER SIZE OF THEIR ELI ZERO MIGHT JUST BE ITS SAVING GRACE.

[JAMES SEARGENT]

“This is a targeted tariff on some of the vehicles that came through, we’re really evaluating how that fits with us as micro EV manufacturer, and the LSEV space in America, a little bit different than golf carts, but also a little bit different than full size electric vehicles.”

[JACK AYLMER]

HIGH EV COSTS HAVE BEEN LISTED AMONG THE BIGGEST HURDLES PREVENTING GREATER EV ADOPTION.

SO, ELI ELECTRIC WANTS TO LEVERAGE CHINA’S EV SUPPLY CHAIN DOMINANCE TO LOWER PRICES AND MAKE IT EASIER FOR U.S. DRIVERS TO MAKE THE SWITCH. 

[JAMES SEARGENT]

“We know there’s a strong unfulfilled you know, a demand for affordable EVs in America I mean this basically points directly directly at it. As a plan to be close to the supply chain. So we actually have a subsidiary of our company, Eli electric vehicles in China, particularly to be close to the supply chain.”

[JACK AYLMER]

THE ZERO IS A STREET LEGAL VEHICLE WITH A RANGE OF UP TO 90 MILES THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING MANUFACTURED IN SHANGHAI.

BILLED AS AN AUTOMOBILE THAT CAN BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN MICRO AND FULL-SIZED CARS, IT ALSO INCLUDES FEATURES LIKE POWER ASSISTED STEERING, RADAR PARKING SENSORS, A SONY INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM AND MORE.

ALL FOR UNDER 12 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

IT’S A PRICE POINT ELI ELECTRIC IS STILL AIMING FOR EVEN WITH THE NEW TRADE REGULATIONS AGAINST CHINA.

[JAMES SEARGENT]

“Us as a manufacturer, we’re still targeting, being able to make our Eevee affordable. So people can utilize this. So we’re still evaluating the situations.”

[JACK AYLMER]

U.S. CUSTOMERS HAVE ALREADY STARTED RESERVING THEIR ELI ZEROS THROUGH A FULLY REFUNDABLE 200 DOLLAR DEPOSIT WITH THE COMPANY.

WITH THESE MICROCARS EXPECTED TO HIT AMERICAN ROADS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, ELI ELECTRIC PLANS TO MAKE THE ZERO AVAILABLE THROUGH LOCAL DISTRIBUTORS AND DEALER PARTNERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

FOR MORE UPDATES ON THESE MICRO CARS COMING TO THE U.S., DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP AND SIGN UP FOR ALERTS FROM ME- JACK AYLMER – SO YOU NEVER MISS A THING.